It’s clear the San Antonio Spurs should take a forward with their draft pick
When the San Antonio Spurs came into the bubble there were more questions than answers swirling around the team’s future. That’s partially why the Spurs coaching staff was open about their intention to use the season restart to focus on player development and tinkering with rotations rather than leaning on veterans as they had in the past.
Now, as the Spurs are five games into their time in Orlando, we’ve got a better idea of what the future of this team looks like. Across the board, we’ve seen confirmation of things that we’ve suspected for a while and also discovered a few new things about guys on the roster.
The future of the Spurs backcourt is secure with Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker, and Dejounte Murray. Strong bubble performances from Drew Eubanks and Jakob Poeltl have rounded out a roster that’s got young players at almost every position except forward.
Rudy Gay has been a weapon for the San Antonio Spurs in Orlando. He’s providing a scoring punch off the bench while also filling a valuable niche as a stretch four. But he probably won’t be doing that for much longer. His contract is up at the end of the 2020-21 season and if the team is angling for a rebuild it’s hard to see them resigning a player who will be approaching 35 years old at the end of next season.
It’s clear that the Spurs should use their upcoming 2020 draft pick on a rangy forward, here are a few great options for them to look at.
Next: A home run shot
Jaden McDaniels is a risk but could pan out for the San Antonio Spurs
As of today, the San Antonio Spurs are projected to have the 11th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. That’s higher than they’ve selected since they drafted Tim Duncan back in 1997. Spurs fans will be hoping for an equally impressive pick but trading down is also an option.
In a draft that lacks in star power, it’s unclear how motivated teams will be to trade up. But if the Spurs are able to find a partner that allows them to pick up another player or pick and move back into the mid-20s, Jaden McDaniels would be a great swing for the fences pick.
McDaniels is incredibly raw, but he’s got the size and athletic ability that you want in a stretch forward. At 6’10 with an 8’11 standing reach, he’s the size of a modern center but has handles as you’d see with any smaller wing. He’s comfortable bringing the ball up in transition, pulling up and hitting three’s on his own, and has a nice variety of floaters and layups to help him do damage around the rim.
McDaniels has had to develop his finishes, especially his floater, out of necessity. He’s incredibly thin, weighing in at just 200 lbs, and frequently gets pushed around down low. Like Luka Samanic, he will have to spend a lot of time working on his body before he’s ready to step into a prominent role in any NBA lineup.
To be frank, McDaniels isn’t a sure thing, which makes him by far the riskiest of the players were going to cover here. But if the Spurs find a good deal that allows them to add another player or pick, or potentially get out from under one of the contracts they have on their books right now, and move back in the draft, McDaniels is an interesting option to consider.
Next: The safest option
Saddiq Bey is as solid of a prospect as the San Antonio Spurs will find
There is an incredibly low chance that Saddiq Bey ends up as anything other than a very solid role player for a long time. He’s too physically gifted and his game is too well suited for the NBA for you to convince me otherwise.
Coming out of Jay Wright’s Villanova program, Bey is one of the best forwards in this year’s draft. He’s a lights out shooter – he was the fourth most accurate 3-point shooter in the country after hitting on 45.1 percent of his shots from behind the arc – but he’s not just a shooter.
The guard skills Bey developed as a youngster have stayed with him as he’s grown into a solid 6’8 216-pound body. He’s not as explosive as Rudy Gay was when he was entering the league but he’s got enough of a burst to attack closeouts and make the right next move, be it a pass or a shot.
Bey could slot into the role Gay fills as a stretch four whos primary responsibility is knocking down open shots in the corners. He can create for himself but that’s not his strong suit, he’d be much better off playing in a complementary role in the Spurs drive and kick offense.
One of the biggest attractions about Bey as a player is his NBA readiness. The Spurs are going to undergo a rebuild, that much is sure. But it seems like they’re going to try to walk the line between rebuilding and contending, if that’s their goal then they might not want to take on a project player like McDaniels. Bey is a much safer option who would be ready to contribute from day one.
Next: The projected pick
Patrick Williams falls right in the sweet spot for San Antonio Spurs
Bey is the safer pick and McDaniels would give the Spurs an opportunity to move back and pick up an asset along the way, but if San Antonio is deadset on using their pick on someone with real star potential then former Florida State Seminole Patrick Williams could be their guy.
Standing 6’8 with a 6’11 wingspan, Williams fits the physical mold that NBA teams are looking for when they scouting the next addition to their group of wings. He’s got the speed to stay with faster players but also has a solid frame at his young age, he will be able to hold his own right away and should grow into a physically imposing force as he continues to add muscle.
He’s the second-youngest player in this draft group and it shows. He wasn’t a huge part of the Seminoles offense, turned the ball over more than he dished out assists, and looks lost at times. He’s got growing to do on both ends of the floor and while he’s physically ready to play in the NBA, it looks like it could take some time for the game to slow down for him.
All of that said, Williams’s ceiling is sky-high. He hit on 32 percent of his 3-point shots, which isn’t great, but he was also a reliable 84 percent free-throw shooter. A player’s free throw percentage has been a tried and true indicator of their ability to grow into a floor-spacing threat at the next level so it’s an encouraging sign for Williams’s development that he’s been so consistent at the charity stripe.
He’s not as much of a risk as McDaniels, isn’t as NBA ready as Bey, but Patrick Williams has a higher ceiling than either of those guys. He could benefit from a year in a proven development program like the one San Antonio has in the Austin Spurs but the end result could be the do it all, star forward that the Spurs need to take them over the top.