Spurs: Is Jalen Duren a Must-Draft This June?

Jalen Duren
Jalen Duren / Joe Murphy/GettyImages
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The San Antonio Spurs appear primed for a busy offseason beginning with the 2022 NBA Draft, where they'll have four picks. Meanwhile, Memphis center Jalen Duren has seen his draft stock rise and has been previously projected by CBS Sports to be selected 8th overall by San Antonio.

It's easy to see why. Duren is a big-time athlete and definitely has two-way potential, which makes him both an exciting player and an intriguing prospect. He could offer a lot to the Spurs. That being said, should the Spurs consider selecting Duren in the lottery when they already have a top 10 center? Let's take a closer look.

At 6 '11 with a massive 7' 5 wingspan, Duren has plenty of size. That, combined with his explosive leaping ability, could make him a force on both sides of the ball. On offense, he’s a major lob threat in both the half-court and in transition and effectively leverages his athleticism to get easy buckets.

Duren brings the Spurs a post game

While pure athleticism makes up a large part of his offensive game, Duren has also exhibited the ability to score in the low post. There, he displays good footwork and often uses his size and strength to get deep position before finishing with a layup or strong dunk after an up-and-under move. On the other hand, he has some finesse to his game, including a nice-looking turnaround jumper, which he also occasionally uses when he faces up to shoot over his defender.

His jump-shot is certainly promising, and if he continues to work on that aspect of his game, it's not crazy to think he could develop into a pick and pop threat. If that's the case, then Duren could evolve into more than just a high-level roll-man, which is already a valuable player type in the NBA, and could actually have All-Star potential.

Not only that, but Duren is an excellent rebounder, grabbing 19 rebounds against Western Kentucky and 20 boards in a game against the University of Central Florida this college season. He's especially effective on the offensive glass, where he frequently skies for rebounds even when boxed out. That led to many second-chance points, only adding to his offensive potential in the NBA.

Still, It's Duren's defense that might be his most intriguing attribute.