Dominick Barlow Combine highlights show Spurs may be onto something
By Josh Paredes
It's been apparent for some time now that the San Antonio Spurs need some upgrades in their frontcourt.
Jakob Poeltl is in the top half of starting centers in the league, in my opinion, due to his steady defense and ability to run effective pick and rolls. This assessment isn't really a knock on him, but rather the starting power forward and backup frontcourt spots.
Doug McDermott and Zach Collins are fine players, but eventually, San Antonio is going to need to have a better mix of big, athletic guys to compete with the ever-growing talent around the league. A signing they made one day after the 2022 NBA Draft hints they're well aware of that.
Ideally, the Spurs' upcoming down season will lead to a primetime draftee heading to San Antonio -- with Victor Wembanyama obviously being the grand prize. But until then, they'll have a season to see what 19-year-old, 6-10 big Dominick Barlow can do.
Dominick Barlow shows off some skills in Las Vegas
Of course, Barlow is no Victor or even close to it, but his acquisition at least tells Spurs fans that the front office is aware of the hole they need to address very soon. At the NBA Combine earlier this year, the super-raw prospect showcased an impressive array of interior moves against other league hopefuls.
In the scrimmage game, Barlow ran the floor for transition dunks, had pick and roll finishes in the lane, and even buried a near 3-pointer from the corner.
As you'd expect, he also showed some areas in which he'll need to improve, such as closing out on 3-pointers without fouling and getting into better positions defensively when switched on a small.
Even though there will still be a lot of work to do with Barlow, the physical makeup is there. He also has a nice touch around the basket that's sorely needed in San Antonio. He has a workable jump shot too -- one that the Spurs will have to develop with Chip Engelland's replacement.
In any event, there's inherently about zero risk to the Spurs in giving a two-way contract, and the best case scenario will see Barlow really start to grow his overall game and make an impact in San Antonio. If rumors are true that Poeltl may be on the trading block, his value may even increase as the season goes on.
Expect to see plenty of Barlow in Austin this coming season, but don't be surprised if he eventually gets come call-ups now and then.