College basketball is finally here, meaning the 2023 NBA Draft cycle is officially underway, and it's shaping up to be the most pivotal cycle in recent memory for the San Antonio Spurs. After a spectacular start, the team has begun to slide in the Western Conference standings. Barring a miraculous All-Star-level breakout from Keldon Johnson or Devin Vassell, the Spurs will likely be in an excellent position to select one or more high-caliber players in next year's draft, particularly if the team's decision-makers plan on trading the team's veteran sharpshooters for more picks.
If you caught our way-too-early big board, then you may know by now that the 2023 NBA Draft is going to be stacked with talent. If you paid closer attention to the names that appeared on that big board, though, you'll notice that all 30 candidates that made it (including the honorable mentions) are either incoming NCAA freshmen or freshman-aged players that will be playing professionally.
Do we expect the Spurs' likely lottery pick to be a player from the high school class of 2022 or someone of that age? While it's still incredibly early to say with certainty, if you're asking me, I'd say that's a safe bet. But let's not forget that a 20 and 21-year-old sophomore (Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray, respectively) unexpectedly worked his way into being selected in the top five of the 2022 NBA Draft. In other words, anything is possible and it would be irresponsible for us not to do our due diligence. And like last summer, the Spurs may even have multiple 1st round picks to work with.
With that in mind, let's also remember that it's still incredibly early and that college ball is just getting started today. Names on this list will move around, and in all likelihood, more names will enter the mix as time passes. But without further ado, these are the sophomores, juniors, and seniors we have on our radar going into the college basketball season.