3 Mistakes the Spurs can’t afford to make during the 2023 NBA Draft
By Oscar Barkis
3. Pick someone lacking defensive traits
As PATFO have churned the roster, opting to go younger and younger while they set their aim to the top of the lottery, their defense has fallen off in a big way. This trend helped their tanking efforts. No matter how well the Spurs played on offense or how many points they put up last season, their opponent almost always outscored them. But they will need defenders as they attempt to forge a championship contender.
The good news is that defense is significantly more effort-driven than offense, which relies almost entirely on natural talent. From mid-February to before the team mailed it in for draft lottery purposes in March, the Spurs made drastic improvements on that end of the floor. Those stern conversations Pop had about the importance of defense translated into positive results on the court after the All-Star break.
Now that's not to say this team is full of good defenders. Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, and Tre Jones are all competent at worst on D, and they project to get much better once surrounded by stronger defenders. Wesley and Branham have the traits, but we’ve yet to see them perform at a high level on that end. That’s about it for the core Spurs. For that reason, defense is a must in this draft. The guy they bring in through the lottery must be a confident and competent defender from day one.
We’ve still got a good ways to go until the draft. It’s hard not to get excited, but we should manage our expectations. Hopefully, this article, and the many others we’ll release here at AirAlamo as we enter Lucky Lotería month, helps paint a picture of the many prospects who could land in San Antonio. Long shot, but I also hope it finds its way to the front office and provides a bit of direction in case they don’t take home the first or second overall pick.