Since starting their rebuild last summer, the San Antonio Spurs have successfully managed to acquire and stockpile an impressive number of draft picks. Picks are key to any rebuild, and the Spurs recently added three more by trading All-Star Dejounte Murray. The more picks, the better, even if they're essentially just lottery tickets.
The jackpot, of course, is landing a superstar to build around, and those are the hardest players to find. Without one of those players, the Spurs can only get so far before hitting a wall, which is partly why they moved Murray and are collecting draft assets in hopes of striking it big. With that in mind, let's see if the lottery ticket draft strategy can work for the Spurs.
The Spurs have a total of 10 first-round selections in the next five drafts and could add even more by trading Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson, and Doug McDermott. They could also absorb a big contract in exchange for more assets, giving the team multiple ways to acquire picks.
Even if most of those selections aren't in the top 10, the Spurs have a long history of finding future stars while picking outside of the lottery. That skill could serve them well, and it should increase their chances of finding their next franchise player.
With multiple draft picks comes flexibility
The Spurs' excellence at drafting also gives them flexibility, allowing them to trade up in future drafts. That wasn't the case in the past, and the Spurs did occasionally miss out on their first choice. Things generally worked out in those scenarios, but they weren't picking in the top ten, where the talent level is much higher. Having extra picks gives them options, and they have the assets needed to move up in the draft if they think there's a star in the making on the board.
Of course, there's the possibility that the Spurs land a top-three selection for the first time in 25 years. After all, moving on from Murray and, presumably, their veterans, would make the team worse and increase their lottery odds. It comes with the cost of undoing the progress they made in their rebuild for a 14% chance of getting the number one pick in next year's draft.
Still, it's probably worth it, especially if they land Victor Wembanyama or even Scoot Henderson.
Both players are very young and have incredibly high ceilings, so landing either would be big and would allow the Spurs to preserve those assets.
Ultimately, a lot hinges on where the Spurs' own picks land. If they get a top-three or even a top-five pick, then there’s a great chance that they can select a future superstar. If they don't, then they still have plenty of picks to try and find that player.