The Spurs can trade for young talent without giving up real draft capital

Stanley Johnson, San Antonio Spurs
Stanley Johnson, San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs are in the middle of a youth movement, a total rebuild, as they continue to move away from their last dynasty and try to start a new one. In order to do so, the Spurs are trying to trade away established talent and try to get back as many draft picks as possible. This is a tried and true method, but it leaves fans wondering if the draft picks will even hit. 

In order to have some instant validation, the Spurs could roll the dice and trade for a recently drafted player. In order to do that, the Spurs will have to deal picks or a high-value player.

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Dealing picks seems absolutely absurd and counters what the franchise is trying to achieve, but I honestly think that the value in second-round picks is minimal at best. With the exception of Manu Ginobili and Nikola Jokic, second-rounders tend to be role players at best. Spurs fans shouldn’t be upset if the organization uses those chips to bring in a current player.

When it comes to rival teams who are obsessed with draft capital, Danny Ainge and the Utah Jazz come to mind. The Jazz are playing shockingly well, sitting tenth in the West, but they have to potential to beat just about anyone. Undrafted rookie Johnny Juzang is on a two-way contract, but I think the Spurs should pursue him relentlessly. Juzang posted 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds in two years at UCLA and shot 36% from deep on high volume. Since signing with the Jazz this summer, Juzang has played on the Salt Lake City Stars of the G-League, and in seven games, has put up 16 points on 45% shooting from deep.

His defense needs work, but he’s only 21 years old and could easily take the spot of Doug McDermott or Josh Richardson as a reserve wing if either of them were to be traded. Utah wouldn’t want either of them in a deal, but both sides could agree to something like this.

Yes, the Spurs are giving up three picks, so the Jazz have the advantage there. An undrafted rookie for three second-rounders, that could possibly be used to trade up into the late first round? That’s a solid haul, and it’s better for the Spurs to have Juzang on their side instead of wallowing in Utah’s developmental system.

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And if things don’t work out, then the Spurs are out some picks, but they can just cut him whenever and call up Alize Johnson from Austin. They’ve been using their two-way contracts on a lot of different players, and adding a long-term piece is worth the risk of losing some late draft picks.