West Coast Conference, St Mary’s: Matthias Tass
Gonzaga easily beat the field in the West Coast Conference. The Spurs should look at the Zags in the draft, but we’ve already heard about Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme. St. Mary’s beat Gonzaga in the regular season and even though they lost in the conference finals against them, there is definitely some strong NBA potential on the Gaels.
Matthias Tass is a do-all, 6-10 power forward who has played some solid all-around basketball for the Gaels. Tass hails from Estonia, which could put him in some rare company. He would be the third foreign-born player who went to St. Mary’s to suit up for the Spurs behind Patty Mills and Jock Landale. Tass will not space the floor as Landale can, but he will provide some extra interior scoring and ball movement.
His playstyle is actually pretty similar to Poeltl’s when he first entered the league, although that might not be a compliment.
Behind the juggernaut that is Gonzaga, St. Mary’s is a pretty successful mid-major school in terms of basketball. Tass will be just another product to come from the school, and he could easily have a solid career as a backup power forward on the right team.
The Spurs need some help at the position, so if he’s still there by the time the second-round pick rolls around, the Spurs should give him a really long look as a player of need who could make a small impact. Coming in the second round, any impact player is valuable. Don’t expect to find All-NBA talent like Nikola Jokic -- that’s unfortunately not how the second round works. Take a player who could play 15 or 20 minutes a night. That’s the kind of guy Tass will be.
While mid-majors have heralded some great talent (Ja Morant, Lillard, Curry), usually these are role players who don’t have long careers in the league. With the second round, you have to know what to expect given the players who will remain. We can dream of MVP-level talent, but that’s simply not the reality.
Some small conferences have some players who could be great future Spurs, and it’s worth it to stop and smell the roses so as not to overlook anyone.