NBA Draft Big Board: How Spurs Can Balance Talent and Fit

Chet Holmgren, Jalen Duren, NBA Draft
Chet Holmgren, Jalen Duren, NBA Draft / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
AJ Griffin, NBA Draft / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Tier Two: Just a Bit Outside

Had the three biggest prospects in this year's class not happened to play the exact position that the San Antonio Spurs are weakest at, maybe one of these guys would climb the list. However, the cream of the crop has separated itself, which leaves these three elite prospects just outside of our top tier.

6. A.J. Griffin, Duke

  • DRAFT AGE: 18
  • HEIGHT: 6’6”
  • WEIGHT: 222 lbs
  • POSITION: Wing

One question looms heavily over Blue Devil A.J. Griffin: What exactly is he supposed to be in the NBA? Too skilled to be a simple 3-and-D wing but not polished enough to be an obvious go-to scorer, he remains a moldable prospect without a defined ceiling. One of the youngest players in his class, Griffin overcame a difficult stretch of injuries in high school to put together an impressive freshman season in Durham. 

The New York native’s two-way flashes shine brighter than police lights at a frat party. Using a seven-foot wingspan and physical nature, Griffin is able to manipulate contact on both sides of the floor. An active defender who’s still learning fundamentals and nuances, Griffin has everything he needs to become elite on that end.

A 44.7% 3-point shooter as a freshman, Griffin thrives off of team offense that generates clean looks. He’s always willing to play away from the ball but proved that he can assert himself when needed. His offensive style is smooth with an array of ball-handling moves that empower him to get to his spots.

There’s plenty of work to be done for Griffin to reach his full potential. The ball-handling needs refinement, his jumper might need a slight tweak, and there are plenty of fundamentals to key in on before he makes the jump. If there’s any franchise that can help Griffin tap into the player his flashes suggest, it’s the San Antonio Spurs.

San Antonio Spurs
Keegan Murray, Mason Gillis / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

5. Keegan Murray, Iowa

  • DRAFT AGE: 21
  • HEIGHT: 6’8”
  • WEIGHT: 225 lbs
  • POSITION: Power Forward

Although the four players before him reign supreme in the 2022 NBA Draft hierarchy, Keegan Murray might actually be the best fit for the San Antonio Spurs. The 21-year-old is a methodical and physically imposing power forward whose effort level remains the same on both defense and offense.

Murray addresses the Spurs’ greatest needs: Defensive versatility, switchability, floor spacing, and physicality. If you are interested in reading a complete evaluation of Keegan Murray’s game and his fit with the San Antonio Spurs, you can click here to read my profile from earlier this year.

San Antonio Spurs
Jaden Ivey / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

4. Jaden Ivey, Purdue

  • DRAFT AGE: 20
  • HEIGHT: 6’4”
  • WEIGHT: 195 lbs
  • POSITION: Off Guard

Shockingly fast with incendiary athleticism and three-level scoring upside, Jaden Ivey is far and away the No. 1 guard prospect in this year’s draft class. The son of a former WNBA player and Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey, Jaden has spent his life around basketball. That helped him develop a great feel for the game, which he uses to execute basic reads after manipulating defenses with the two things he does best: Getting downhill to attack the rim and generating space to show off his quick-trigger jump shot.

Though he possesses the tools to be an impact defender, Ivey is prone to lapses in the halfcourt. His reaction time and focus level will need to increase for him to be a plus defender in the NBA. Furthermore, many draft pundits question which position he will play at the next level—but in an increasingly positionless league, it shouldn’t impede him from impacting the game.