DaRon Holmes II is the Spurs center prospect nobody is talking about (yet)

DaRon Holmes II - 2022 A10 Men's Basketball Tournament - Dayton v UMass
DaRon Holmes II - 2022 A10 Men's Basketball Tournament - Dayton v UMass / G Fiume/GettyImages
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DaRon Holmes II would further modernize the Spurs' frontcourt

Even if Holmes does possess some similar qualities to Poeltl, though, that alone may not be quite enough to convince the Spurs to select him in the draft over other potential candidates. The team has notably been leaning more into the concepts of versatility and positionless basketball in recent years, culminating in the selection of Jeremy Sochan 9th overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

In looking for a "modern" center," the easy route to go is to look for a big that can provide rim protection and floor spacing, with Duke's Dereck Lively and Oregon's Kel'el Ware being two of the more well-known examples in the 2023 draft class. Ware in particular has come along well in recent games despite playing limited minutes. But even despite DaRon Homles' lack of a consistent jump shot, he also brings some modern tools to the table that could lure the Spurs.

While Jakob Poeltl's sheer size at roughly 7'1" and 260 pounds allows him to contest bigs around the rim and set hard screens on the perimeter, Holmes is already by far the superior athlete. Not only will he be a consistent lob threat on offense, but on defense, he has the necessary speed to jump passing lanes, is twitchy enough to hold his own on switches, and can use his vertical athleticism and plus wingspan to block jump shots. Holmes will need to continue adding weight to his frame to become the high-level screen-setter that Poeltl is, but his athleticism would add a new dynamic to the Spurs' frontcourt on day one.

What adds an extra dose of danger to Holmes' sheer athleticism though--particularly on defense--is his efficiency in transition. There have now been several convincing glimpses of Holmes capitalizing on forced turnovers by making good outlet passes to teammates and occasionally even leading the break himself. In the times he's had a clear runway in front of him, he's shown some comfort in being able to put the ball on the floor and turn defense into quick offense, like in the clip below.

Even if Holmes' jump shot never comes around, his passing will be what keeps him on the floor next to a non-shooting forward like Jeremy Sochan, just as it has for Jakob Poeltl. But Holmes' feel for the game, athleticism, and upside as a ballhandler are what can potentially pay serious dividends for the Spurs in the future. But regardless of whether or not this is enough to warrant the Spurs selecting him in the draft, if you're a fan of Jakob Poeltl, Homles and the Dayton Flyers will be a must-watch.

Spurs 2023 NBA Draft: top college returners to watch. dark. Next

Dayton's next game comes this Wednesday against Western Michigan at 6:00 PM CST.

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