San Antonio Spurs: Top 5 2021 first-round draft targets

Charles Bassey (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Charles Bassey (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /
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San Antonio Spurs draft prospect Charles Bassey (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
San Antonio Spurs draft prospect Charles Bassey (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

These are the five players the San Antonio Spurs should be thinking about

San Antonio Spurs fans should be excited about the 2021 NBA Draft. Now that the NCAA regular season and March Madness are behind us, the speculation can finally begin about who they’ll be picking on July 29th.

Among early-season game cancellations due to COVID-19, injuries, and other inconsistencies, the 2020-21 regular season has been a challenging one for the Spurs, to say the least. The team is currently facing a harsh reality: they are hovering around .500 and are only barely managing to hang onto the 10th seed in the Western Conference.

To make matters worse, the upcoming schedule for the Spurs is brutal. The lottery is looking like an increasingly likely landing spot for the Spurs, but I urge fans not to be too disappointed about that.

The 2021 class is stacked to the point that it has already received comparisons to legendary drafts like LeBron James’s 2003 class. While the golden rule of the draft states always to pick the best player available, there are several caveats to this rule depending on draft position, fit, future upside, etc., especially in such a talented draft class. So who should the Spurs be targeting?

The most obvious position of need for the Spurs at this point is the power forward. While Jakob Poeltl has had a fantastic season as the Spurs starting center, one could argue that the Spurs also still need reliable bigs coming off the bench despite their recent pickup of Gorgui Dieng from the free agent market. Generally speaking, though, the Spurs need size, especially with players like Keldon Johnson and Demar DeRozan being a bit undersized for their positions.

In terms of what skills the Spurs need on the court, several things come to mind. While they have obviously had some shooting struggles this season, the Spurs also currently sit at 17th in the league in team assists per game and 19th in the league in total rebounds per game– two issues that are more challenging to fix in the modern NBA compared to shooting.

The Spurs have also had quite a bit of trouble defending the 3-point shot, so perimeter defense would be something else to look for in the draft. With all of that in mind, this list of potential prospects assumes that the Spurs will stick with their current lineup of guards and aim to draft a power forward or stretch five in the first round.

Primarily, I’m looking for well-balanced players on offense and defense with the potential to improve on either or both sides of the floor. Finally, I am looking for players who can help address at least two of the issues listed above, emphasizing rebounding and playmaking.

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