San Antonio Spurs: 5 Best Defenders of the 2021 NBA Draft

Usman Garuba - Real Madrid v RETAbet Bilbao - Basket Liga ACB
Usman Garuba - Real Madrid v RETAbet Bilbao - Basket Liga ACB / Sonia Canada/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Kessler Edwards - Pepperdine v Gonzaga / William Mancebo/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs Prospect 4: Kessler Edwards - Wing, Pepperdine

The more I watch Kessler Edwards, the more I think he could be one of, if not the best two-way wing in this draft. Shot Quality has Edwards in the 95th percentile or above in the NCAA in blocks, rim efficiency, and three-point efficiency. While many label him as another 3-and-D player, I think he has other elements of his game like his passing, midrange game, and rebounding ability that all go a bit under the radar.

On offense, he's averaged about 40% from three over the course of his three years with Pepperdine, and perhaps most impressively, comparing his freshman season to his junior season, he improved his free-throw shooting by nearly 20% on double the attempts. This is an incredibly encouraging sign that his shot will translate and possibly even continue to improve once he enters the league, even with his unorthodox shooting form.

What has me most excited about Edwards by far though is what he was able to do on defense at Pepperdine. He has great verticality and a seven-foot wingspan that allow for him to be an impactful perimeter defender and shot-blocker in the paint. While his steal rate doesn't jump off the page necessarily, he's still a threat in that way as well and enters passing lanes quickly.

While I've still seen some mocks having Edwards going in the second round of the draft, which at this point is utterly baffling to me, I'm growing much more comfortable with the idea of the Spurs taking him in the first round if they were to keep the 12th overall pick. He's a guy that will bring length, rebounding, three-point shooting, and is athletic and switchable enough on defense to realistically guard the 1 through 4. Count me as sold.