The 2022 NBA Draft is fast approaching, and the San Antonio Spurs will have an impressive four picks to work with. Those picks give the team several options and could prove key to the team's long-term future.
In fact, they give the Spurs a chance to add future rotation players, which could help them return to the playoffs. If they really hit it big, they could even find another star to pair with All-Star Dejounte Murray. With that in mind, let's look at the top three prospects at each of the Spurs' draft spots.
9th pick: Keegan Murray, Jalen Duren, Johnny Davis
Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery had the Spurs land exactly where expected at 9th. Power forward Keegan Murray may be the best fit of players in that range but has often been projected to go fifth or sixth. However, there's a chance that he could drop as other players' draft stock rises.
It happens every year. Players who weren't expected to be in the top half of the lottery end up being selected there. Just last season, Josh Giddey was selected 6th overall after being projected to go in the back half of the lottery. That could definitely happen this year, and Murray would be the player most likely to fall out of the top five.
If he falls, then there's a chance the Spurs could select him, and he'd make for a terrific addition. Murray would give the team a starting-caliber four who can score in the paint, knock down threes, and defend multiple positions.
That said, if Murray doesn't fall, then there are two other options that the Spurs should look hard at. The first is Jalen Duren, an explosive 6'11 center who'd give San Antonio some much-needed front-court athleticism. Duren should be available at nine and, if selected, he'd add valuable rim protection, excellent rebounding, and a serious lob threat. The potential is definitely there, and he could make for a very good two-way starter in the NBA, maybe even on the Spurs.
Rounding out the top three players for the ninth pick is Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis. Davis was one of the best scorers in college basketball this past season, averaging 19.7 points per game, which ranked 25th in the nation.
He accomplished that by being effective scoring in the mid-range, bullying his way to the rim with strong drives, and drawing an impressive number of free throws. On the other hand, he did struggle shooting from beyond the arc, but that hasn't deterred San Antonio from taking players in the past.
What could, however, is that the Spurs already have several guards including Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, and Joshua Primo. Despite that, drafting Davis still makes sense because he should be a reliable scorer in the NBA for years to come, especially if he develops into a 3-point shooter. Defensively, he is a capable defender and should be able to hold his own on that end of the floor.
Altogether, Davis' skillset could make him a nice backcourt mate for Dejounte Murray. But with limited minutes to divide among Murray, Davis, Vassell, Primo, and Jones, the Spurs would be forced to make difficult decisions later.
Between Murray, Duren, and Davis, Murray may be the best fit for the Spurs, but Duren is more likely to be available and could provide San Antonio with the best athlete they've had at center since David Robinson. Additionally, Davis could add an above-average perimeter scorer and a solid defender to the team.