San Antonio Spurs: Is Jalen Johnson worth the risk?

Jalen Johnson - Duke v Louisville
Jalen Johnson - Duke v Louisville / Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Jalen Johnson - Duke v Louisville / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Why Johnson would be a good choice for the San Antonio Spurs

As they're entering a rebuilding process, San Antonio should opt to maximize long-term value in a prospect. Considering who might be available at number 12, it makes all the sense in the world to go after a player who could be a core member of your franchise for years to come, even if it means taking the time to develop that player.

Many fans are clamoring for an instant-impact player, and while I think there’s potential for Johnson to make an impact in year one, I think it's more likely that he'll take a similar route to the one that guys like Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Keldon Johnson did: beginning in the G-League. In other words, fans will need to be patient with him while he develops.

Giving him a season in the G-League will give him ample opportunities to catch up to the speed of the game, all while developing the necessary skills to maximize his upside.

The jump shot must come along if he wants to be a long-term asset in the NBA. That being said, there’s no reason why he can’t develop a suitable NBA-level jumper with a shooting coach like Chip Engelland at his disposal. 

The Spurs should be looking at their five-year plan to jump back into relevance. Adding a high upside talent at this time is best for a franchise that's in need of a significant difference-maker. Whether they select Kai Jones, Usman Garuba, Jalen Johnson, Josh Giddey, or others, it would be in the Spurs' best interest to swing on upside over low-ceiling role players.

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All in all, patience will be key with Jalen Johnson. But with proper development and a strong work ethic, the San Antonio Spurs could be walking the line of selecting a potential long-term answer in the frontcourt with the selection of Jalen Johnson.