The Top 3 prospects at every Spurs' NBA Draft spot
By Cal Durrett
20th Pick: Ousmane Dieng, Patrick Baldwin Jr., E.J. Liddell
There are several tantalizing options that should be available with the 20th pick for the Spurs, with Ousmane Dieng being at the top of that list. Dieng is an 18-year-old, 6'9 small forward who has played increasingly well in the NBL, leading to more attention ahead of the draft, particularly with his unique skillset.
He looks comfortable playing with the ball in his hands, has good court vision, and displays the ability to create on the perimeter, all of which are unusual for a player his size. Those skills are valuable in the NBA, thus making him a very intriguing prospect and one who would be difficult to pass up if available.
If Dieng is off the board by the time the Spurs select, then Patrick Baldwin Jr. and E.J. Liddell would be good consolation prizes. Baldwin Jr. has lottery talent but played more like a late second-round pick in his only season at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He should be available in the late teens or early 20s and could be an absolute steal, given his offensive potential.
After all, at 6'9, with a 7'0 wingspan, he has the skill set of a guard but the size of a power forward. Baldwin Jr. possesses very good handles, which allow him to generate shots for himself from behind the arc or in the paint. When he's on, he looks great, effortlessly nailing step-back and pull-up threes or hitting floaters in the lane.
On the other hand, he struggled with shot selection and was alarmingly inefficient. That's something that he'll obviously have to work on, as well as his defense, but all three are correctable. Despite the red flags, a team like San Antonio could see a diamond in the rough and take a chance on him. The Spurs do need help at power forward and could use Baldwin Jr. as a modern four, where his shooting ability and versatility could shine.
Liddell is the most polished of the top prospects projected to be available at 20 but doesn't have the ceiling of Dieng and Baldwin Jr. Still, his potential role in the NBA could be very useful. The 6'7 power forward is a talented scorer who can knockdown pick-and-pop threes, hit pull-up jumpers, score in the post, or bully his way through taller defenders at the basket.
He's also a skilled shot blocker and can guard away from the basket. At the very least, he should have a long career in the NBA, but in the right situation, Liddell could be a high-level role player.