After going undrafted out of Oregon State in 2018, Drew Eubanks played for the Austin Spurs in the G-League before eventually joining the San Antonio Spurs. Once with the Spurs, he quickly exceeded expectations to the point that he was re-signed to a new three-year contract last offseason. For the time being, he appears to be set to return for his fourth season.
That said, some factors could complicate his return, including Jakob Poeltl maintaining his starting role and Gorgui Dieng being re-signed. Additionally, promising prospects like Kai Jones, Alperen Sengun, or Isaiah Jackson will potentially be available at the 12th pick in the NBA Draft. Factoring in the Spurs' rumored pursuit of John Collins in free agency, there are several situations in which Eubanks' role would be jeopardized.
With that all in mind, here, we'll discuss a few reasons why Eubanks deserves to keep his role off the bench and some reasons why the Spurs may be looking to include him in a trade package.
The Case for Eubanks leaving the San Antonio Spurs
Eubanks has certainly been productive in his time with the Spurs, though there's a notable flaw in his game: his defense. Despite his decent production on offense (for the minutes he's given), his mediocre defense makes him far less valuable than Poeltl.
While he’s made progress on that end, particularly as a rim protector, he has a high foul rate and struggles to defend players on the perimeter. Furthermore, San Antonio signed Dieng during the second half of the season, who's likely an upgrade on both ends of the floor.
Were the Spurs to bring back Dieng and or draft the likes of Jones, Sengun, or Jackson, it could make Eubanks all the more expendable. Even if San Antonio won’t have as much use for him in that scenario, though, he could be of value to another team. He's only 24 years old and is only owed a total of $3.6 million over the next two seasons, with both years being non-guaranteed.
Also considering that most teams fill the role of backup center with veterans, he’d provide a cheaper, younger, and more energetic option that is still improving. If the Spurs are set on drafting another big in the draft or pursuing John Collins in free agency, it may be wise for the team to begin shopping Eubanks sooner rather than later in hopes of perhaps acquiring another second-round pick.