NBA Insiders: Spurs targeting specific position with 9th pick

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When the 2022 NBA Draft begins on June 23rd, it's highly unlikely anyone will know what the San Antonio Spurs plan to do. After all, the organization is known for being the most tight-lipped of them all, especially after having been burned by rare leaks in the past.

Still, there are several credible sources beginning to speculate about where the Silver and Black where will be looking to improve the roster on draft day. As a guest on The Athletic NBA Show, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer revealed what position he believed the Spurs would first be looking to fill when they select at 9th.

"I've heard from people picking below the Spurs, they think the Spurs are going to go center," said Fischer.

Of course, San Antonio already has a very good NBA center in Jakob Poeltl on a bargain contract, but there are still reasons to believe there's fire where the smoke is. Poeltl has frequently been named in trade talks and was close to being dealt in February's trade deadline. Even if the Spurs love what he offers with his current contract, that doesn't mean he's untouchable.

Secondly, San Antonio still clearly needs a frontcourt guy with athleticism and switchability on the perimeter -- preferably one that can play both power forward and center positions. Taking someone with those abilities would be a smart investment for the Spurs, even if it meant some backup center minutes for the new addition if Poeltl remains in S.A.

Another insider throws out names

To add to the speculation of the Spurs finally going big with their lottery pick, NBA Big Board's Rafael Barlowe also shared some of what he's been hearing (subscription required).

Echoing Fischer's thoughts that the Spurs will be going with a traditional center with the 9th pick, Barlowe mentions Jalen Duren and Mark Williams as guys being "in the mix." Our own Cal Durrett has scouted Duren in the past for us, highlighting all he'd offer to San Antonio. Meanwhile, Will Eudy has also written about why Mark Williams should be on the Spurs' radar.

Taking a center in the lottery certainly would be a change of pace for the Spurs, whose last two frontcourt players drafted were Chimezie Metu in 2018 and Luka Samanic in 2019. Given how their careers with San Antonio panned out, here's hoping they'll have much better luck if the rumors are true.

It's important to note that just because the Spurs badly need an upgrade in their frontcourt doesn't mean we should all expect that to happen with their first pick in the upcoming draft. After all, they also have picks 20, 25, and 38 to potentially address that issue while pulling off trades is also an option. Knowing how the front office operates, this could all be a smokescreen for bigger plans.

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Still, it would be a great idea for Brian Wright to get some frontcourt help over the summer by any means necessary.