Ron Holland: The San Antonio Spurs' potential next cornerstone

The 2024 NBA Draft is just around the corner for the San Antonio Spurs, and the G League Ignite's Ron Holland could prove to be the team's top option.
Ron Holland - NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite
Ron Holland - NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Holland's fit with the Spurs

The Spurs are in a good, yet somewhat precarious position in that they're still somewhat early in a rebuild, but simultaneously have Victor Wembanyama in their corner, who is ready to contribute at an elite level now. There is endless evidence that suggests Wembanyama is more than happy in San Antonio, but the front office is now firmly on the clock to make meaningful improvements sooner rather than later.

This means that every draft pick, assuming for now that the Spurs decide to keep them, will be critical to the team's short and long-term success. Even though Ron Holland will strike many as a raw prospect who needs refinement, these are the ways in which he'll likely emerge as one of the Spurs' top candidates on draft night:

Holland is a ceiling raiser

The Spurs have made it abundantly clear in recent years that they want to build a perennially competitive team, and while that may be possible through intelligent trades, up to this point, that is not how the Spurs have operated. In a draft class where All-Star upside may be difficult to come by, Holland's upside aligns with that vision of sustained success more than just about anyone else in his class.

Victor Wembanyama managed to blow already-lofty expectations out of the water in his rookie season, and Spurs fans should not expect the team to struggle for much longer. With that in mind, if the team believes they won't have another shot at a high lottery pick in the near future, taking an intelligent swing on a player like Holland may be in the team's best interest for long-term success as opposed to going a slightly safer route for the sake of better short-term gains.

Capitalizing on a simplified role

In a league increasingly driven by offensive firepower, Holland's potential as a three-level scorer adds a dynamic dimension to the Spurs' arsenal. With core players like Victor Wembanyama and Jeremy Sochan already anchoring the defense, Holland's offensive ceiling, should he reach it, could provide the necessary balance for sustained success without sacrificing the team's defense.

In contrast with his time with the Ignite, Holland will not be forced to shoulder a primary offensive role with the Spurs straight out of the gate. Rather, he'll have the opportunity to play off the gravity of the Spurs' current primary offensive threats (in Wembanyama and Vassell) and grow into a larger role more naturally. When given time and a simplified role, young players tend to experience more immediate success.

Contributing to winning basketball

Holland will likely require some patience from the coaching staff and Spurs fans alike before meaningful wins begin to pile up, but that doesn't mean Holland will be unable to contribute on day one. One of the 18-year-old's best qualities that hasn't been discussed at length here is his sheer motor and willingness to put his body on the line to make winning plays.

The ability to stay on the court early in a player's NBA development is a highly underrated factor that contributes to future success, and in a worst-case scenario where Holland is struggling to put the ball in the bucket, his motor and aggression are what could make him playable despite those potential struggles, even in crunch time. In this way, Holland not only has a high ceiling but also a higher floor than he's generally given credit for.

Roster-building flexibility

As the Spurs continue to evolve and adapt to the demands of the modern NBA, Holland represents a potential cornerstone piece in their goal of sustained success. All that is likely firmly known in the minds of the Spurs' front office at this moment is that Wembanyama is the clear centerpiece of the team-building puzzle.

While other young, core pieces on the Spurs like Vassell and Sochan appear to be key components of that same puzzle for the time being, the NBA landscape can quickly shift. Adding a young, versatile, high-upside prospect like Holland to the puzzle could make parting with one or both players easier for the Spurs to stomach if a better opportunity presents itself (e.g., a future superstar trade).

As the 2024 NBA Draft approaches, Ron Holland stands poised as a top candidate for the Spurs, ready to make his mark on the league with an invaluable blend of skill, athleticism, and untapped potential. Spurs fans: pay attention now and get the highlight reels rolling.