Three players the Spurs should consider at pick 29

For an NBA GM, Richard Jefferson’s contract seems to be on the level of being offered a two-week’s all expenses paid vacation to an island with active volcano along a faultline about to rupture. They can’t reject it fast enough.

The San Antonio Spurs are reportedly insisting Jefferson and his lousy contract be included in every deal made for Tony Parker. Last night as Jeff Garcia reported the Spurs were on the verge of pulling off a blockbuster trade with Portland that would have sent Tony Parker to the Blazers and would have netted the Spurs Nicolas Batum and Andre Miller while swapping 1st round picks, the Blazers 21st and the Spurs 29th. But it fell apart at the last minute because of the Spurs demanded Jefferson be included in the deal. It’s highly doubtful the Spurs will find any takers for the Parker and Jefferson combo. Especially with the uncertainty surrounding the new CBA.

It’s a hard sell from a GM’s perspective to try to convince an owner to take on those big contracts without knowing what parameters they will be working under next year. There could be some deal that gets done before the draft but I don’t expect one to. With all of the rumors swirling around, expect the Spurs to pick at their designated slot of 29.

This NBA Draft is fairly deep in terms of talent. Players projected to go all the way into the middle of the second round will probably be solid players in the NBA. Darryl Morey, the GM of the Rockets and godfather of advanced basketball metrics, says he has 22 players in this draft with a 1st round grade. That’s higher than the norm which usually falls between the range of 17-19. So the Spurs will most likely get some value with their pick at 29. In that draft range I don’t think you can do any better then these three players.

1) Jordan Hamilton SF Texas 6’8” 230

Played on a typical talent-rich, underachieving Texas team which hurt his draft stock some after being projected in the lottery most of the year. He also had some bad workouts which plummeted his stock into the mid to lower first round. But this kid can score in any way. He has a good post up game, and has range all the way out to three-point land. Texas coach Rick Barnes isn’t the best at X’s and O’s as his teams often falter when they should be thriving but he can recruit and cultivate talent as well as any coach in the country. Texas consistently produces NBA talent and Jordan Hamilton is just another player to come out of that program that will have a long career in the NBA.

Question is will he be on the board when the Spurs are on the clock?

2) Darius Morris PG Michigan 6’5” 190

He was the best player on a very young but talented Michigan team. And it showed as the team was very inconsistent all season. If he played with more veteran teammates, he probably would be a first round lock as he is a pass first point guard and his teammates would have capitalized more on the shot’s he was creating for them. Darius could have used another year on the college level to develop his three-point game and showcase his skills such as running the point on a much improved team. If he stayed another year he likely would have been a lottery pick due to his size and skills but instead came out this year and had a very up and down draft evaluation process.  Mock Draft boards have had him going in the late lottery to Houston all the way to mid-second round. Darius would be a tremendous value at the 29th pick. He is a big, physical, pass-first point guard who loves to get in the lane and create shots for teammates. The problem was his teammates weren’t fully ready to play with him yet. So we don’t truly know what he’s capable of even though he has the highest assist rate per 40 minutes in this draft at 8.8. He has a evolving, lottery level skill set that isn’t fully cultivated yet.

3) JaJuan Johnson PF Purdue 6’10” 220

A player who I believe truly got looked over in this draft process. There is so much hype and excitement around potential and raw talent among fans and scouts. But there’s something to be said about a four-year college player with a solid skill set and is as close to a sure thing as you can get.

Johnson is a 6’10” shot-blocking power forward who can also step out and shoot the three. He is really athletic and can get out and run the break. He brings a whole lot more to the table then he takes off. He isn’t a good rebounder, in fact he’s a pretty poor rebounder for his position. That likely won’t improve in the NBA as most poor collegiate rebounders don’t become good NBA rebounders. There are exceptions to that; however, as Warriors’ David Lee was a below average college rebounder at Florida, but became a pretty good rebounder in the NBA. That’s very rare though. JaJuan is projected as a mid-second round pick, which I believe to be ridiculous. He will stick in the league longer then a lot of players drafted ahead of him.

What do you think Spurs fans? Who do you want the Spurs to draft tonight? It has been a pretty exciting last couple of days with all the Tony Parker rumors. I imagine we are in for a rare drama-filled Spurs’ draft night.

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