Now that the San Antonio Spurs have been eliminated from playoff contention after a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last week, a lottery pick will be on the menu for the Spurs this coming July. While the 2021 NBA Draft class will be loaded with talent across several positions, here, I will discuss the possibility of the Spurs drafting the young Real Madrid star Usman Garuba and what he could bring to the team immediately upon arrival and in the future.
Usman Garuba was born and raised in Madrid, Spain to Nigerian parents and began his basketball career at the age of 11 when he first joined Real Madrid's youth academy. Garuba just turned 19 this past March and is now considered to be one of the best prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft class, as he has racked up many impressive accolades during his time with Madrid.
Most recently, he was named as the 2020-2021 EuroLeague Rising Star: a yearly award that has been won in the past by other now-NBA players like Luka Doncic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Ricky Rubio, and Danilo Gallinari. He also earned the ACB's Best Young Player award for his performance this past season.
With the Spurs' lack of depth at the four and five positions being a season-long area of concern culminating in a less-than-ideal defensive performance against Jonas Valanciunas in Memphis, drafting a talented and athletic big man makes a lot of long-term sense for the team.
While Garuba has obviously shown in the past few years that he's deserving of making it to the NBA, the Spurs front office will now need to take a long, hard look at him to decide whether or not drafting him would be the right move for the organization. So what could Garuba offer the Spurs on the floor?