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

Jalen Duren
Jalen Duren / Joe Murphy/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Jalen Duren, Jairus Hamilton / Joe Murphy/GettyImages

Jalen Duren is a defensive machine

Defensively, Duren puts his length and timing to great use and is an elite shot-blocker, averaging 2.1 blocks in just 25.3 minutes per game. What's more, he often leaves the ground after his opponent does but somehow still manages to swat their shot. 

It's a rare skill and a result of his terrific verticality. Duren often jumps straight up with his arms raised, which might not sound like a big deal, but it allows him to maximize his size and makes it even harder for smaller players to shoot over him. Based on that alone, he is talented enough to anchor a defense.

But there's more. Duren is effective at guarding away from the rim and moves his feet well when defending drives, making it difficult for perimeter players to get separation before then challenging their shot at the rim. That's impressive, to say the least.

San Antonio hasn't had an athlete of Duren's caliber playing center in decades, let alone one with this type of two-way potential. Offensively, he could develop into a frequent target of Dejounte Murray as both a roll-man and floor spacer. Additionally, he has the chance to become a consistent option in the post, something the Spurs don’t currently have.

Duren also seems poised to become a top-tier rebounder and rim protector in the NBA, could help San Antonio control the glass, and can effectively shut down the paint on defense. Despite that, the Spurs already have Poeltl, who's a terrific rebounder and rim protector in his own right and should continue to improve.

But should the presence of Jakob Poeltl deter the Spurs from taking someone like Duren?