In the NBA Lottery last night, the San Antonio Spurs found out that they would be picking 12th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. Now that the draft is now only about a month away, the Spurs have begun hosting pre-draft workouts with draft participants. So far, the Spurs have hosted workouts with Joe Wieskamp and Jordan Hall, as well as a pre-draft interview with LJ Figueroa.
In addition, the NBA Draft Combine began this past Monday in Chicago, where many of the nation's top NBA prospects have come together to make their case to NBA scouts. Yesterday, the NBA began posting these prospects' measurements for the public via their website.
Here, we'll go over some of the more interesting findings from the first couple days of the draft and the potential impact those findings could have on the Spurs draft selections.
San Antonio Spurs Prospects Jalen Johnson and Scottie Barnes have huge hands
I, for one, am not exactly the biggest supporter of Jalen Johnson after his short stint with Duke, and frankly, I have several concerns about his game at this point. To be fair though, this past season was very clearly a strange year for Duke basketball and the NCAA in general, and Johnson was forced to play in a role that he didn't appear to be comfortable with.
That being said, something interesting that his draft measurements have told us is that he has huge hands. To be exact, they're 9.75 inches long, which happens to be the same length as Kawhi Leonard's hands, and 10.5 inches wide, which is only three-quarters of an inch narrower than Leonard. Given that a couple of his weaknesses coming into the draft are his physicality and ability to finish at the rim, having big hands should serve him well in his development of these skills.
The same can be said for Scottie Barnes, whose hands were recorded as being 9.25 inches long and 10.25 inches wide. While I'm not necessarily buying either one of those players as shooters, for the time being, having large hands to control the ball with can compliment their athleticism and physicality well at and around the rim like it has for players like Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Neemias Queta's shot-blocking ability makes much more sense
Neemias Queta was one of the best shot-blockers in the entire NCAA this past season, and some of his combine measurements put that into perspective. Out of all combine participants, he is the tallest player (with and without shoes), has the tallest standing reach, and the longest wingspan.
Combined with his very above-average mobility for a big man and his verticality, he appears to be built like a pure shot-blocker. Despite his age, it still surprises me that he isn't being brought up in more late first-round conversations.
If the Spurs are shopping for an interior defender that can effectively rebound the ball in the second round of the draft, Queta could be an interesting option if the rest of the combine and a potential pre-draft interview/workout all go well for him.
Ziaire Williams still hasn't put on much weight
Something that I was personally waiting to see at the combine was whether or not Ziaire Williams had been able to gain any weight between the end of Stanford's season and now. Unfortunately, I'm here to report that this does not seem to be the case.
Stanford's athletics website has had Williams listed at 185 pounds for some time now, and his weight was noticeably one of the contributing factors in his struggles with the team. Even if he has decently high upside as a shooter and facilitator, if he's unable to maneuver in the paint and finish through contact, he will surely struggle at the next level.
At the combine, he weighed in at 188 pounds which, due to common discrepancies in weight listings, is negligible at best. If he were able to gain closer to 10 pounds since the end of his season, I would be much more optimistic about him, but this is not an encouraging sign.
Moses Moody nearly has a 7'1" wingspan
Of all players in the combine that were listed as shooting guards, Moses Moody had the longest recorded wingspan at 7'0.75" and the longest standing reach at 8'9". Even when comparing those measurements with slightly bigger small forwards, his wingspan and standing reach would be good for second and sixth place, respectively.
For a wing player like Moody, those are very encouraging measurements and should serve him particularly well on the defensive end of the floor. If he can perform equally well on some of his strength and agility tests like his vertical leaping tests and shuttle run time, I'll be very sold on him as a two-way wing player.