Bench: Blake Wesley
This selection may be a bit of a head-scratcher for some people, but Blake Wesley offers more upside than any of our other candidates. The Notre Dame product was a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and his blistering speed allows him to get to the rim whenever he wants. At 6-foot-4 with plus athleticism, the second-year point guard has lots to offer, but he also has much to learn as he figures out how to harness his physical tools.
Though it is impossible not to salivate over his natural ability, Wesley is still raw and needs plenty of coaching to reach his ceiling. Popovich eased him into the lineup as a rookie, and he only averaged 5.0 points and 2.6 assists while appearing in 37 games for the Spurs after tearing his MCL early last season. His inefficiency offset his flashes of scoring and playmaking, but the Spurs are unlikely to give up so quickly on a former first-rounder.
With his speed and length, Wesley should be able to defend at a high level. Defense has always been important to Coach Pop and the Spurs brass, and Wesley displayed a white-hot motor on that end of the court. The young point guard averaged 1.3 steals per 36 minutes last season. He also had 44 steals in 35 games during his one-and-done year with the Fighting Irish. San Antonio appreciates grit, and Blake could earn backup duties if he provides some much-needed intensity.