Spurs Draft Spotlight: Why A.J. Griffin Looks Like a Must-Draft

A.J. Griffin
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To say the absolute least, the San Antonio Spurs have had some serious struggles and demoralizing moments this season. The Spurs currently sit at 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 19 wins and 32 losses, only four games in front of the last-place Houston Rockets and holding the 8th-worst record in the league.

Considering that the Spurs appear to be toward the beginning of a rebuild, this is to be expected to some degree, but what makes this particularly disheartening is that this comes as Dejounte Murray is playing the best basketball of his career.

I'm certainly not one to be over-celebratory about moral victories, but even despite the standings, Spurs fans should have a few things to feel good about. Murray will certainly warrant some All-Star consideration in the coming days (even if the egregiously flawed voting system doesn't award him a spot), Devin Vassell has had some moments of brilliance this season, and Josh Primo has been a bright spot that fans always seem to look forward to seeing.

Something else fans should undoubtedly be looking forward to, no matter how early it may be, is the 2022 NBA Draft. If the season were to end today, the Spurs would have roughly a 35% chance of picking 8th overall, about a 26% chance of picking within the top four, and a 91% chance of picking 9th overall or higher. In short, at the moment, there's a significant chance that the Spurs' newest player will come in the top third of the draft.

Outside of who appears to be the consensus top three picks in this year's draft in Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith, the 2022 draft class appears to be relatively mediocre as a whole, particularly after the lottery. If the Spurs are going to choose a year to earn a top-ten pick, considering names that will populate the lower end of the board, this would not be a bad year to do it.

One player that could be in the Spurs' reach sticks out to me more so than all of the others, though, and his name is Adrian Darnell "A.J." Griffin, Jr. In my humble opinion, he may just be "the guy" for Spurs fans to look out for come draft night, and here, I'll explain why.