Spurs Mock Draft: San Antonio selects crafty combo guard in the lottery

2023 McDonald's All American Game
2023 McDonald's All American Game / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs are a little more than two weeks away from opening training camp and kicking off the first chapter of the Victor Wembanyama era. With that said, it is never too early for fans to start thinking ahead about what the future might have in store for the franchise in the 2024 NBA Draft, especially with how many picks the front office has in their treasure trove of invaluable assets.

Despite finding a generational cornerstone, re-signing in-house free agents, and trading for several reliable veterans this summer, the Spurs will face an uphill battle to secure a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture. Most national media outlets and sportsbooks have San Antonio finishing near the bottom of the standings, which would land them in the lottery for the fifth straight season.

Even if those projections come to fruition for the Silver and Black, adding another high-end talent to their young core is far from the worst outcome. The good folks at Bleacher Report saved us some time and ran through that scenario in their latest mock draft, with D.J. Wagner coming off the board fifth and heading to the 2-1-0. So, what would that mean for Gregg Popovich and company?

D.J. Wagner is a massive gamble for the Spurs

Not only is Wagner the sixth-best recruit in his graduating class according to the RSCI rankings, but he also has basketball ingrained in his genes as his father and grandfather suited up in the NBA. The third-generation hooper committed to Kentucky to play for Head Coach John Calipari last November, turning down offers from other blue blood programs like Louisville, Memphis, and Syracuse.

Measuring 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Wagner has the build of your prototypical point guard. However, he has a score-first and pass-second mentality, and his suspect shot selection gets him into trouble. The 18-year-old has an outstanding first step and shifty handle that allow him to get to the rim at will, but his lack of vertical explosiveness and poor three-point percentage could hurt his efficiency.

While being an undersized tweener is usually a red flag on the defensive end, Wagner has a white-hot motor and the screen navigation skills in the pick-and-roll to hold his own against most backcourt players. If he proves that he can clean things up on the other side of the ball and leverage his scoring to create for his teammates, the Spurs will feel more comfortable investing their first-rounder in him.

From Tyrese Maxey and Tyler Herro to Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, multiple swingmen and ballhandlers have launched into stardom after spending time with the Wildcats. Perhaps Wagner can be the next one-and-done freshman to exceed expectations when leaping from Lexington to the NBA. San Antonio would love to solve the questions around their long-term outlook at the one.

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