By the time the San Antonio Spurs were on the clock at pick 25 in the 2022 NBA Draft, there was a general consensus that they had nailed the first two picks.
Taking Baylor's Jeremy Sochan at 9th and Ohio State's Malaki Branham at 20th, the former was seen as a perfect fit while the latter was seen as a lottery-level talent that somehow slipped. The addition of Notre Dame's Blake Wesley at 25th capped off what multiple outlets labeled 'A' grades all around.
It says a lot that Spurs GM Brian Wright stated soon after the draft that he intends to keep all three players on the roster, especially considering they're already full as is. Apparently, the front office got what they wanted with all three picks, and it seems like the majority of major media outlets agree.
Here's what some analysts had to say about San Antonio's big night:
ESPN doesn't appear to have NBA Draft grades, but in their winners and losers column, ESPN's Jeff Borzello said he was most impressed by the Spurs' draft night out of everyone. "It's hard not to like what the Spurs did with their three first-rounders," he concluded.
The Sporting News
Kyle (not Kyrie) Irving of The Sporting News didn't give individual grades to each pick in his assessment, but he did have the Spurs ranked as having the 4th-best draft night with an overall A+ grade. "When the Spurs are back to their winning ways a few years down the line, this draft class will have a huge part in that," said Irving. Let's hope he's right.
The crew at CBS Sports was a fan of all three of the Spurs' picks, giving grades of A-, A+, and A- to Sochan, Branham, and Wesley, respectively. "He was taking over games by the end of the season," said the article of Branham. "[And] Wesley has the athleticism and skills to turn into something with a great coaching staff."
Kevin O'Connor at The Ringer also had good things to say about the Spurs' picks, giving an A- to Sochan, B+ to Branham, and B to Blake Wesley. Calling him a playmaker with size, he says Sochan has shown flashes of off-the-dribble shooting, which could lead to improvement on offense. Meanwhile, he sees Wesley as a raw prospect that won't see time right away but could become something with some seasoning.
Over at SI.com, Jeremy Woo was also a fan of the Jeremy Sochan pick, giving San Antonio an A and saying "this one feels like it's going to work out." He also liked the pickup of Malaki Branham at 20th (A- grade), saying he could wind up being a steal.
Meanwhile, Blake Wesley received a B+ from Woo, who believes in his athletic ability and scoring instincts as tools that can be developed into something worthwhile.
Yahoo! Sports added that Blake Wesley is an underrated passer in their first-round grades, giving him an A. Branham received an A as well, with writer Krysten Peek even suggesting he could get some starting minutes early on. Sochan, she believes, could see some minutes off the bench with his dynamic defense. He ended up with an A-.
Of course, there always has to be that one guy. Bleacher Report wasn't as high on the Spurs' draft as pretty much everyone else I came across, especially when it comes to the 9th pick.
"He might be the most disruptive defender in the draft, but he's also one of the least developed scorers," said Zach Buckley. "Unless his scoring really takes off, he needs shot-creators around him, and San Antonio doesn't have enough." Buckley ended up giving the Spurs' 9th pick a C+ grade but was more generous with the other two picks.
"His youth and rapid rise point to growth potential," he said of Branham, giving him an A- grade. Lastly, he believes Wesley landing with the Spurs' developmental team "could be a dream", giving him a B+ grade.
I guess 6 of 7 isn't so bad.