San Antonio Spurs Draft

Grading all San Antonio Spurs' 2022 NBA Draft picks

Jeremy Sochan - 2022 NBA Draft
Jeremy Sochan - 2022 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Malaki Branham - 2022 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Malaki Branham - 20th overall

Although Sochan is my favorite selection in this draft and will immediately address some of the team's biggest needs, if we're strictly talking value and upside, then I'd argue that Malaki Branham is easily the best selection in this draft for the Spurs. Branham was considered by many to be a lottery-level talent and he was even one of my wildcard choices for the Spurs at 9th overall. We had the Spurs selecting him 20th overall in the first version of our 2022 mock draft.

Since that first version of our mock draft, though, particularly after having the opportunity to go back and watch much more film, it quickly became evident that he could go much higher than 20th overall. I'm fully confident in saying that Branham is the most efficient all-around scorer in his draft class, ending his season shooting 50/42/83 splits on a convincing volume of shots, including 61% at the rim and an absurd 60% in the pick and roll.

Branham isn't the quickest or most explosive athlete and has some question marks on defense as a result, but defense isn't why you're selecting him at this point in the draft. His 6'10" wingspan and flashes of competence on that end of the floor are good enough reasons to throw the dice on his three-level scoring ability. Considering that he's reportedly a gym rat and an extremely hard worker combined with the fact that he made the effort to perform defensive drills at the combine, it's pretty unreasonable not to be sky high on this selection near the end of the 1st round.

I'm so confident in Branham's overall upside, in fact, that I think his selection could be the end of the road for Lonnie Walker in a Spurs uniform. He was quite easily the best prospect on my board at 20th overall, and the Spurs made it very clear that they stuck to their guns when they claimed they would be selecting the best players available.

Grade: A+