San Antonio Spurs Draft

Spurs: 3 NBA Draft prospects that could replace Lonnie Walker

Dyson Daniels
Dyson Daniels / Joe Buglewicz/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Bennedict Mathurin / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Replacement #1: Bennedict Mathurin

Bennedict Mathurin had a strong sophomore season for the Arizona Wildcats, averaging 17.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, leading the team to a 33-4 record. As a result, he's expected to be a top 10 pick and should be an option at nine for the Spurs given his potential. Mathurin is a 19-year-old 6'5 shooting guard with explosive athleticism and a high offensive ceiling, making him the ideal successor to Walker.

Walker's primary role on the Spurs is to provide an offensive spark off the bench and he did, averaging 12.1 points per game this season, but he was also very inefficient. This was a result of him bombing away from beyond the arc and shooting only 31.4% from three.

Mathurin, on the other hand, shot the ball well from deep, draining 36.9% of his 6.1 3-point attempts per game. He also showed that he was a versatile shooter, knocking down spot-ups, shooting off of screens, and taking a fair number of threes off the dribble. 

He’s not just a shooter, however, and he puts his leaping ability to good use. For instance, Mathurin was very effective in leveraging the threat of his jumper to attack closeouts with decisive drives. He’s also skilled at creating offense on-ball and is very good at using screens and stutter steps to get into the paint. Once there, he’s able to finish through contact and even over defenders.

Mathurin has a reliable floater too, helping make him a better scorer inside the arc than Walker, who often settles for low percentage pull-up jumpers and shies away from contact at the basket. Therefore, drafting Mathurin could make Walker expendable. 

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All in all, Walker's return is very much up in the air and could depend on who the Spurs draft. If San Antonio selects Mathurin, Davis, or Daniels, then we'll have a much better idea of the team's plans for Walker considering any one of them could serve as potential replacements.