We're finally only days away from the 2023 NBA Draft, where it's all but certain that the San Antonio Spurs will be selecting LNB Pro A star Victor Wembanyama with the 1st overall pick. The Spurs will undeniably be gaining a young player with tangible superstar potential, and someone that NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony believes will earn an All-Star nod in his rookie season.
In all likelihood, Wembanyama will come in as the team's #1 option on offense on day one in the league, and his defense--with a particular emphasis on his rim protection--has a strong chance of being All-NBA-caliber sooner rather than later. So, with all of that in mind, Wembanyama firmly sets the Spurs' championship timeline, and the team's focus will quickly shift to finding players that will complement Wembanyama's game and lead to winning as soon as possible.
Some believe that the Spurs will achieve this by adding experienced NBA veterans to the roster, with names like Chris Paul, Fred VanVleet, Naz Reid, and others being the players most commonly tied to the Spurs in the rumor mill. To a degree, adding such veterans will be important for the Spurs in the next several seasons, particularly if they have playoff experience. But signing and/or trading for big-name players that demand big contracts and sometimes even bigger trades isn't always the best route for teams wanting to make a championship push (see: the Brooklyn Nets).
Enter the NBA Draft, where the Spurs have found a good bit of success during Brian Wright's tenure as general manager. While it's all but assured at this point that Wembanyama will be the 1st overall pick, the Spurs don't have to end their night there, and recent rumors suggest that they're actively seeking another 1st round pick in this year's draft.
I've neglected to make too many concrete guesses about the Spurs' draft haul this cycle, particularly ever since it was revealed that the Spurs would be selecting 1st overall. But from a team-building and asset standpoint, the Spurs are in a good position to be aggressive in the upcoming draft and find another running mate for Wembanyama that can join the Spurs' young cast of role players. And if I'm forced to guess now, the name that stands out the most is Michigan sophomore Kobe Bufkin. Here's a breakdown of his game, his fit with the Spurs, and why I think the front office could move for him.