On paper, nothing about Torrey Craig jumps out to me and says, "get him to the San Antonio Spurs, ASAP!" For his career, he averages 5.3 points, 3.5 boards, and one assist per game. He's currently on his third team in four seasons with a good chance to reach the NBA Finals in Phoenix. He'll also be an unrestricted free agent come this summer.
The 6-7 small forward from South Carolina is going to be 31 years old this December, older than 10 Spurs still expected to be on the roster next season. He'll also be more experienced than most of them as well. But is this argument based on experience and age? Not at all. Let's get right into the meat of my case.
Head coaches love nothing more than someone who gives all-out hustle on the court. It's what Manu Ginobili made a Hall-of-Fame career out of and what Keldon Johnson currently exemplifies. Torrey Craig is one of those guys.
In Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Craig had a 20-second span that shows why he'd be a perfect fit in San Antonio. It started with a simple, yet effective box-out of 6-8 JaMychael Green to tip away a potential offensive rebound. Then, Torrey is off to the races.
On the ensuing fastbreak, Craig is the sixth man to cross halfcourt before Chris Paul raises up for a mid-range jumper. Guess who's first to touch the ball.
Although Craig doesn't quite get the rebound, his possession is far from over.
*Note: Although NBA policy doesn't allow me to embed, you can view the entire sequence together here.
Craig's Manu-esque block helped ignite a Phoenix run they'd never give up on their way to a 2-0 series lead and eventual sweep of the Denver Nuggets. This is the kind of play I love to see, especially on a big stage like the NBA Playoffs.
Torrey is the kind of glue player that you can rely on to be solid on both ends while barely making mistakes. He reminds me of what Devin Vassell is already bringing to the table in his young career. He also shot 37 percent from three last season, better than anyone not named Rudy Gay or Patty Mills on the Spurs.
Beyond basketball, Craig would undoubtedly be beloved in San Antonio due to his frequent charitable efforts and friendly personality.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, Torrey Craig has previously said he loves Phoenix and wants to stay long-term. Still, he only made $1.6 million this season and is unrestricted. Although the Suns would certainly give him a significant raise, the Spurs have the funds to go beyond Phoenix.
If Craig wins a championship in Phoenix, will he be satisfied and chase a bag instead? Or if the Suns fall short, will they have bigger priorities in free agency then throwing cash at him?
There are still several ways Torrey can change his mind this summer, and the Spurs' front office would be wise to be in his ear when free agency begins.