The San Antonio Spurs have four picks in this year's draft and, with limited roster space, many believe they'll trade at least one pick. With 12 players under contract for next season, it's a reasonable assumption to make, but the Spurs could technically still use all four selections.
While packaging any two of their picks to move up a few spots is more likely, keeping all of their selections could actually prove to be the better outcome. After all, the Spurs’ draft success rate should be taken into account when discussing trading any of their acquired picks.
For instance, the team's two best players were each selected 29th overall, with Dejounte Murray becoming an All-Star this past season. Keldon Johnson could soon follow, and with three picks in the top 25, the odds are good that the Spurs could find another steal or two.
The 9th overall pick definitely gives them their best chance at selecting a star or future starter. Possible options include Jeremy Sochan, who'd give the Spurs a boost at power forward, and Jalen Duren or Mark Williams if they are targeting a center. All three could prove to be great long-term frontcourt options and may even contribute immediately.
The 20th pick should also give the Spurs a chance to add another promising prospect to their roster with Tari Eason, Nikola Jovic, Jaden Hardy, and E.J. Liddell being candidates. Eason, Jovic, and Hardy are all gambles but have high upsides while Liddell could be a ready-made rotation player. All of them are interesting, but the Spurs wouldn't be able to draft any of them if they dealt the 20th pick, giving them more reason to keep it.
Now, the 25th pick is where things begin to get interesting. The Spurs could simply use all three of their first rounders, with 25 possibly being used to take whichever of the four aforementioned players remain.
Though it's tricky, the Spurs could keep all four picks
However, this is where the Spurs' lack of roster space comes back to bite them. They could have max cap space in free agency but would have only one roster spot available if they use the ninth and 20th selections. They could clear out another roster spot by waiving Romeo Langford but then they may re-sign Lonnie Walker.
That would still leave only one open spot, so drafting and stashing the 25th pick should be an option, with 6'8 sharpshooting small forward Gabriele Procida being the top choice. I've never liked the draft-and-stash approach, particularly after the Nikola Milutinov disaster in 2015, but it actually makes sense in this instance.
Procida should be available at 25, and since he's barely 20, he's young enough to be stashed for a year or two. If that were to happen, Procida would hopefully be more refined by the time he joins the Spurs.
As for the 38th pick, there's been talk that the Spurs might've made a draft promise to a player expected to go late in the second round. If true, taking a player projected to go in the 40s or the 50s at 38th overall is pretty clever. For one, the Spurs' draft board likely doesn't match most mock drafts, so a player presumed to go late in the second could actually be someone they're high on.
Also, by choosing a player expected to be taken late in the draft, if at all, the Spurs could get them to sign a two-way contract. Doing so would allow the team to develop a player that they feel has potential while not using up a roster spot.
For the player, signing a two-way contract could give them two years to prove themselves and earn more money than they otherwise might've just playing in the NBA G League. It also increases their chances of playing in the NBA and eventually making the roster.
Ultimately, while the Spurs could use all of their picks, it appears that they're actively looking to move up in the draft. Whether they actually will remains to be seen, but fans won't have to wait long to see how things play out in the 2022 NBA Draft.