San Antonio Spurs Draft

Jaden Ivey: A Questionably-Fitting, High-Upside Pick for Spurs

Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Jaden Ivey / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Jaden Ivey could dramatically alter the Spurs' roster

To be very clear, the Spurs may not even have the chance to select Ivey in the upcoming draft unless lottery luck is on the team's side. Even after slowing down a bit toward the end of the regular season, when considering his ceiling and what NBA floor spacing could do for his game right now, it's getting more and more difficult to imagine him dropping anywhere past the 5th overall pick. Some scouts seemingly even place him well in the conversation for a top-3 pick, and understandably so.

As much as I want the Spurs to finally draft their big man of the future in the upcoming draft with a high lottery pick, the objective should always be to select whoever the team deems as the best player available. If the Spurs believe that a Murray-Ivey backcourt duo could be as dynamic and athletic as I think it could be and that he'll be good enough to justifiably replace one of the current starters, there may not be a good reason to go with another player in that situation.

Even after trading Derrick White at the trade deadline, though, the Spurs are bursting at the seams with guards, particularly if you include Devin Vassell on that list of players. If the Spurs were to select Ivey, a burning question would emerge: if the plan is to have him in the starting lineup sooner rather than later, who does he replace?

I think it comes down to deciding between benching Vassell or moving him back to playing at small forward and benching Keldon Johnson instead. That conundrum is a whole other article in itself, though.

While I don't think selecting Ivey is necessarily a "win now" move, I would argue that at the very least it's a "win very soon" move. But I think there's a world in which a Murray-Ivey backcourt makes a team too good to bottom out but not quite good enough to compete in a deep playoff run without building a better frontcourt quickly. In this way, I think Ivey's selection in the draft would mean that the Spurs are highly confident that they can find those frontcourt pieces through their other 1st round picks this year, trades, and/or free agency, which would certainly be a gamble.

Ultimately, if the Spurs select Ivey, then it would be wise for fans to prepare themselves for another big roster shake-up. While this could certainly require the Spurs to move a current starter to the bench at the very least, it could even mean that the Spurs will have to say goodbye to one or several players in their young core to secure a cornerstone player for the team's frontcourt. While these changes would undoubtedly be scary and controversial, the long-term benefits could be tremendous if Ivey lives up to the hype.

dark. Next. Roundtable: Should Spurs Tank or Compete for the Play-In?

Be sure to catch Ivey and Purdue in the Sweet 16 against the bracket-busting St. Peter's Peacocks Friday at 7:09 p.m. ET.

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