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
Usman Garuba - Real Madrid v Valencia - ACB Semi Finals / Sonia Canada/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs Prospect 3: Usman Garuba - Power Forward, Real Madrid

Usman Garuba has seen his name fluctuate all over the place on mock drafts and big boards for months now, but I'm 100% a buyer in the lottery. The 6'8" power forward playing with Real Madrid has shown some flashes of serious defensive prowess in a league that is widely known for already being full of very good defenders.

Other than his defense, by far my favorite part of Garuba's game is his hustle and motor. He is definitely one of the best rim-running big men in his class, is a great cutter, is decent at scoring off the pick-and-roll, and he's athletic enough to finish at the rim. When the coaching staff at Real Madrid isn't forcing him to stay on the wing or the outer baseline waiting for shots, there are times when it looks like he's everywhere at once in the paint.

What is definitely most appealing about his game though is his defense. His team defensive fundamentals, particularly as a shot-blocker in the paint, are already very good. I've seen many emergency situations in the paint where he was able to quickly rotate to the defender and beat him to the rim, making what should have been easy buckets for the other team much more difficult.

His 7'3" wingspan and quick foot speed have also served him well as a perimeter defender, which should make him very valuable to the Spurs' front office given the team's struggles with defending the three this past season. Garuba's defensive versatility, athleticism, rebounding ability, and facilitating upside should fill a lot of the Spurs' needs on paper. He could be an incredible "glue guy" for the team on both ends of the floor.