Spurs Mock Draft: San Antonio takes massive upside swing on promising forward

Mar 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; East forward Justin Edwards (3) during the McDonald's All American
Mar 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; East forward Justin Edwards (3) during the McDonald's All American / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs are less than two weeks from kicking off their regular season schedule and opening the inaugural chapter of the Victor Wembanyama era. Though fans hope to see the teenage phenom catapult San Antonio back into the playoff picture, it never hurts to brace for another up-and-down season from one of the youngest teams in the league, considering how the stockpile of first and second-round picks the front office has at their disposal.

Even after landing a franchise cornerstone and signing Devin Vassell to a five-year extension this summer, the Silver and Black must overcome the challenges of navigating the early stages of their rebuild. No one can say this roster is teeming with talented players with tantalizing ceilings. But it is tough to imagine them leapfrogging established postseason candidates when there are questions surrounding who will fill out their starting lineup and bench rotation.

Almost every sportsbook and national analyst has San Antonio finishing near the bottom of the NBA standings. And if those predictions come to fruition, this organization could bolster its budding core with another promising prospect. Bleacher Report spared us the wait and dropped a potential sneak preview of what may lie ahead for the Spurs in their latest mock draft, sending Justin Edwards to the Alamo City. What would that selection mean for this ball club?

Justin Edwards is an enormous upside swing for the Spurs

Justin Edwards is the third-best recruit in his graduating class according to the RSCI rankings, and he took home countless honors and accolades while on the prep hoops circuit. He received an invitation to the Nike Hoop Summit and became a McDonald's All-American as a senior. The Philadelphia native committed to Kentucky to play for Head Coach John Calipari, passing up offers from Villanova, UCLA, and Kansas.

Standing 6-foot-8 and 203 pounds, Edwards has the ideal measurements for a perimeter-oriented forward. He can nail catch-and-shoot threes, attack unbalanced closeouts with straight-line drives, glide to the basket in transition, and has shown signs of developing a midrange game. While the 19-year-old freshman doesn't need to pound the rock to score, his handle and jumper will determine his offensive ceiling.

There is so much to love about Edwards on the opposite end. His length, footspeed, awareness, and instincts make him one of the best team defenders in this draft. He has an elite sense for positioning and routinely makes outstanding weakside rotations as the helper. The lanky wing must pack muscle onto his frame to improve as an on-ball stopper, but he should be capable of corralling multiple spots from day one in the NBA.

Despite having Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, Julian Champagnie, and Sidy Cissoko locked into multi-year contracts, San Antonio should still be on board with betting on upside before addressing positional needs. Who fits where is a question Head Coach Gregg Popovich can answer later. As for now, General Manager Brian Wright and the rest of his brain trust should focus on stacking assets to set up future blockbuster moves.