The San Antonio Spurs are less than ten games from the end of their first full-scale rebuilding season, and fans are already looking ahead at all the endless possibilities that could lie ahead for their favorite franchise in the 2023 NBA Draft. With only 50 days until ping-pong balls decide their fate at the anxiety-inducing lottery extravaganza, why not explore what might happen when the front office is on the clock in three months?
To pull off this exercise, we wandered over to Tankathon to find out which pick their lottery simulator would give the Silver and Black. While they lost the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes to the Hornets in this scenario, San Antonio lucked into an outstanding consolation prize, securing the second overall selection. So which young prospect should the organization choose if this dream scenario happens in real life?
If the Spurs find themselves in this fortunate position, there is no reason for them to think twice about snatching Scoot Henderson. Though some draft experts moved Brandon Miller to number two on their Big Boards in the days before March Madness began, a string of subpar performances against high-end competition might have firmly cemented Henderson as the second-best prospect in this class.
Henderson has dominated grown men during his second season with the G League Ignite, averaging 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.4 assists on a roster stuffed with first-round talents like Sidy Cissoko, Mojave King, and Leonard Miller. He missed several games because of a concussion, nasal fracture, and bone bruise in his right knee, but those injuries shouldn't be red flags for San Antonio or any other ball club.
The young point guard has a dynamic dribbling package, incredible court vision, and scores off the bounce at all three levels with advanced moves and counters. He can beat defenders with his blistering first step and rise above the rim with his explosive leaping ability. Henderson is perhaps the most well-rounded backcourt talent the NBA has seen in decades, and he is the no-brainer choice for PATFO.
The Spurs own three other picks in this draft, but the protections on them means only one of them will convey this year. And with where the Raptors are in the standings, San Antonio would receive their second-rounder and select 48th overall. While there are numerous routes they could take here, it might make sense to pursue a seasoned player who can help shore up a couple of their weaknesses on either side of the ball.
Jalen Slawson fits the bill for the Spurs as a jack-of-all-trades who can do nearly anything a team asks of him. The 23-year-old led Furman to a first-round upset over Virginia in the NCAA Tournament, stuffing the stat sheet on both ends. He also averaged an unbelievable stat line of 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 55.6% from the field and 39.4% from beyond the arc this season.
The uber-athletic super senior can nail catch-and-shoot threes, sling live-dribble skip passes through traffic, attack undisciplined closeouts, soar to the rim for alley-oops, and function as a roll-man or initiator in ball screen actions. Slawson doubles as a versatile defender who provides secondary rim protection, bothers drives with punctual digs, reads the passing lanes, and switches across multiple positions in a pinch.