Why drafting Kobe Bufkin would give Spurs perfect running mate for Wembanyama

Kobe Bufkin - Michigan v Illinois
Kobe Bufkin - Michigan v Illinois / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Kobe Bufkin is a pristine fit for the Spurs

With the Spurs' #1 pick on the way very soon, team fit just got a lot more important, and with that in mind, I think Kobe Bufkin could be one of the better pairings next to Victor Wembanyama and one of the better fits within the Spurs as a whole in this draft class.

The moment the Spurs secured the #1 overall pick, priority #1 (if you ask me, anyway), is to find ways to keep the ball in Victor Wembanyama's hands as much as possible while still fulfilling some of the Spurs' team goals: namely, continuing to build defensive infrastructure, prioritizing shooting, and finding more advantage creators.

The argument for the Spurs trading up for Bufkin in this draft starts and ends with his sheer versatility. While he didn't quite play as a traditional point guard with Michigan, he has the pick-and-roll poise and playmaking acumen to run the offense at the next level, and playing off of someone with as much on-court gravity as Wembanyama could dramatically open up scoring opportunities for him as well, whether that scoring is self-created or as an off-ball threat via DHOs, spot-up shooting, movement shooting, or cutting. Being that the Spurs have so many capable playmakers on the roster, the possibilities could be endless for Bufkin on offense.

In that same vein, Bufkin won't require the ball in his hands to be successful on offense, meaning Wembanyama will have even more free reign to control the rock, create shots for himself, and make plays for others. This is in stark contrast with a guard prospect like Amen Thompson, for example, who is largely unproven as an off-ball prospect and whose success may depend on him having the ball in his hands a lot. And considering that the Spurs will also likely still want to put the ball in the hands of Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson at times, not to mention Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham, and others, I could envision a ball-dominant lead guard leading to some problems.

Bufkin willingly played a supporting role next to both Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard at Michigan and was still very clearly effective while on the floor. In fact, with Bufkin on the floor, Michigan's defensive rating improved from 109 to 100.2 and their offensive rating improved from 98.2 to 109.6. This kind of effect in a supporting role is precisely what the Spurs should be looking for in a point guard prospect moving forward, and when considering Bufkin's individual upside compounded with that impact, I can't imagine a much better guard to trade up for in this draft that will be available outside of the top 5.