While there’s been plenty of talk about the Spurs moving up, there are plenty of interesting options available should they decide to keep the 29th pick.
Chandler Parsons, Florida
6-10, 221 lbs.
Worked out for Spurs: May 27
Parsons is a smart player with a great work ethic. his stock has risen after every workout he’s participated in. He’s very active on the floor and will tire out his defender due to his activity and ability to use screens.
At 6-10, he’d provide some size at small forward. Because of his unselfishness and willingness to play within the team, he seems like a good fit, character-wise, in San Antonio.
Parsons is a fantastic team player … He doesn’t have to dominate the ball to be effective and he is very a willing passer … He’s not going to be a defensive stopper or a go-to scorer, but he could be a very serviceable player off the bench for a good team … Look for him to be taken in the early second round
Much of what makes Parsons an intriguing prospect stems from his ability to pass the ball, crash the glass, and distort the defense with his handle. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing all those things from Parsons over his four year stint at Florida, so seeing him have to create one-on-one against Giddens and be a scorer first was interesting to watch. He’s not going to be asked to force the issue to score on the NBA level like he was here, so it was intriguing to see him out of his element, having to make decisive moves and get his shot off under duress.
From Project Spurs
• Parsons among growing list of potential draft candidates
• Spurs continue player workouts
JuJuan Johnson, Purdue
6-10, 220lbs, 7-2 wingspan
Worked out for Spurs: May 31
Johnson is a very intriguing prospect. He has the size to play at power forward and is athletic and fast enough to guard small forwards.
In his senior year at Purdue, Johnson averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He has all the tools to be a matchup problem for many teams and could develop into a defender with the ability to defend in the post and on the perimeter with enough work.
His low-post game could use some work and some added muscle could go a long way.
From NBA Draft.net
A long, tall forward with good scoring instincts … Is a legit 6’10″ in shoes with a long 7’2″ wingspan … Has very impressive leaping ability with unusual explosiveness for a big man … Tied for having the highest maximum jump reach in the 2011 NBA Draft Combine, getting as high as 12’1.5″ … Frequent target for ally-oops and lob passes … Very agile and mobile.
Johnson’s improved range affords him increased driving lanes, and he’s shown an improved ability to use one or two dribbles to setup a pull-up jump shot. However, Johnson could stand to continue improve his ball-handling, as he very little ability to utilize his left hand, and doesn’t show the ability to create for himself and get to the rim, either off spot-up situations where the defender closes out too quickly or off isolations. As a whole, Johnson does very little off isolation situations outside of the post, which is something that NBA teams might be concerned about considering his lanky frame.
Defensively, Johnson is long and quick off his feet, allowing him to excel as a weak-side help defender at the college level. He does a fair job defending the pick and roll as well for a collegiate center, although at times he can be caught flat footed and slow to recover to his man.
From Project Spurs
• Mack, Johnson among hopefuls in workout today
• Three players Spurs should look at for pick 29
• Spurscast #251: Draft Preview
• Spurs should look past lottery for draft day trade
• Four intriguing college prospects for Spurs
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
6-8, 186 lbs.
Did not workout for Spurs
Aside from adding a center, the Spurs second biggest need is a perimeter defender. Since Bruce Bowen was traded for Richard Jefferson, the Spurs have struggled on defense. Last season and especially their first round series with the Grizzlies made that apparent.
Honeycutt is considered a jack of all trades, but his defense really stands out. He reminds me of Tayshaun Prince, and could surprise many the way Prince did when he was drafted. Honeycutt is a very smart player and as he showed playing for the Bruins, he’s capable of becoming a very good defender in the NBA.
His size, athleticism and defensive prowess make him one of the top small forward candidates in the draft.
Last season, he averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and an impressive 2.1 blocks per game, certainly outstanding at his size and position. While offense may not be his strong suit, the Spurs have plenty of capable scorers.
Honeycutt comes from a UCLA program that has produced a lot of great NBA players that didn’t overwhelm with their college production … Adding weight will be very important in Honeycutt’s transition to the next level … Is a very talented player with an intriguing skill-set and he should find a place in the mid-late first round
From an athletic standpoint, there’s a lot to like about Honeycutt, despite his slender (188 pounds) frame. Honeycutt stands 6’8” with long arms, which he uses extremely well on the defensive end, as evidenced by him being the leading shot blocker in the Pac-10. He moves his feet well laterally, which combined with his length, overall good effort level on that end of the court and strong second jump creates an intriguing defensive prospect on the perimeter.
Davis Bertans, Latvia
6-10, 210 lbs.
Bertans name has been tied to the Spurs several times and there have been reports that the Spurs have promised Bertans that they will take him if he is available at 29.
Bertans is one of several projects in this year’s weak draft class. His size and shooting make him an interesting prospect to many, but Bertans is 18, still unproven and would be a player the Spurs would have to take a flier on in hoped that he would develop over the next few years.
He is yet another draft and stash, and while it’s easy to get excited about the potential of some players, there is a Sergei Karaulov and Viktor Sanikidze for every Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. While it’s not much of a risk to take a chance on a player with the potential Bertans has, there are other options at 29 that are proven players, have a ton of upside and could start playing with the Spurs or Toros next season.
Sharp-shooting forward with a high amount of role-playing potential … Excellent shooting mechanics, featuring an extremely high and quick release
One of the most intriguing players for the World team at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit was Latvian small forward Davis Bertans, who at 6’10”, impressed immediately with his smooth stroke from the perimeter. He’s a pure shooter with deep range and confidence who showed the ability to knock down shots running off screens or spotting up, and also showed some flashes creating off the dribble.
Jimmy Butler, Kyle Singler, Justin Harper, Nikola Mirotic and Bojan Bogdanovic are also options for the Spurs.
Marquette’s Butler is one of the better defenders in this draft class. But Butler can also get it done on offense, scoring inside and outside. Singler is highly regarded for his basketball IQ and shooting, but he lacks the lateral quickness it would take to guard small forwards in the NBA. At 6-9, Richmond’s Harper has the size at 6-9 and the length (7-0) to play both forward positions. Very athletic and has range out to the three-point line.
Mirotic is another player that has been tied to the Spurs. H may not fall to 29, but at 6-10 and with a 7-1 wingspan, he has great size at the three. He can also play both forward positions, defend multiple positions and seems to be one of the best options, fundamentally, late in the draft.
While Bogdanovich may lack in athleticism and in speed, he is one of the best shooters overseas and in the draft. He’s expected to be selected midway through the second round, but if the Spurs like him enough, I would not be surprised to see them take him early.