If everything goes according to plan, the San Antonio Spurs should have four fairly valuable NBA Draft picks to work with come this July.
It remains to be seen whether the front office will consolidate their picks to move up higher in the draft or in a trade to acquire more current NBA talent, but the good news is their options are plentiful. After their wild trade deadline day, the Spurs got richer with picks both for the immediate future and long-term.
As they enter the final stretch of what may be another season missing the playoffs, the Spurs could maximize the value of their picks depending on how the season ends for a few of their recent trade partners. Here's a look at which teams Spurs fans should be rooting for and against for the rest of the season.
1. Root For: The Toronto Raptors
In their trade of Thaddeus Young, Drew Eubanks, and their 2nd round pick via Detroit to the Toronto Raptors, the San Antonio Spurs effectively moved up about 10 spots in the 2022 NBA Draft to pick around 19th or 20th instead.
Part of the deal was that the 1st round pick from the Raptors is top-14 protected, meaning Toronto would need to miss the playoffs this season to keep their pick. If that happened, the same stipulation would transfer to 2023.
Through Monday, the Raptors have a spot in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference but are still in the dangerous play-in range as the seventh seed. Ideally, the Spurs should want the Raptors to avoid the play-in tournament altogether so it could guarantee Toronto's pick will be theirs.
The best-case scenario for the Spurs would be the Raptors falling from their current 12th overall record to 15th, but in general, it's better they avoid the danger of missing the postseason entirely.