Thursday was a packed day for the San Antonio Spurs and several other NBA teams as the hype of the NBA draft brought rumors floating around by different outlets. From the Spurs reportedly looking to trade LaMarcus Aldridge, to the team possibly having interest in George Hill and Derrick Rose, Thursday was a rumor filled day to the fullest.
By the end of Thursday night however, the Spurs stood in their 29th and 59th slots in the draft, as they drafted guard Derrick White with the 29th pick and forward Jaron Blossomgame with the 59th pick.
Thursday there were several reports that described Aldridge as ‘unhappy’ in San Antonio, and the Spurs were reportedly exploring their options to try to move up in the draft for a Top-10 pick. Later that evening, after the Spurs had made their draft selections, General Manager R.C. Buford and Assistant General Manager Brian Wright addressed the media. Buford and Wright discussed the Spurs’ draft selections and when Buford was asked about the Aldridge rumor of being ‘unhappy,’ here was his full response.
“The thing I’d say is we’ve got a team that’s won 128 games and went to the Conference Finals. We’re happy with the group we have, but if we can make them better, we’ll do it at any opportunity we can. But it’s more than just players. It’s the fit for our group, and the goals for this team are to continue to compete for championships, and LaMarcus helps us do that. So, that’s where we sit with LaMarcus.”
Shifting over to focusing on White, Buford said, “We’re excited to get Derrick, he’s a fit for our program.”
“He’s not really a point guard, he’s not really an off-guard, he’s just a guard,” continued Buford on White, who played point guard in college though he’s 6’5” and has the skill set of a combo guard. “He can defend at a higher level,” said Buford of White’s defensive potential. Being that White was one of Colorado’s go-to scorers, Buford mentioned how White had to be careful on the defensive end of the floor in college not to draw fouls and save his energy on defense. At the NBA level, White’s offensive responsibilities won’t be as demanding, so now the Spurs are eager to see what his defensive potential could be when he uses his energy and focus on that end of the floor.
“You don’t find 80/50/40 guys in college very often,” said Buford of White shooting 81.3% from the free throw line, 50.7% from the field, and 39.6% from 3-point range last season at Colorado.
The media spoke with White over the telephone just after he got drafted, and he was ecstatic to be drafted by the Spurs. “It’s crazy to be a part of the Spurs organization,” said White. White said over the years he’s watched the Spurs both in the regular season and the playoffs. “It was surreal,” said White of his reaction when he first heard his name called by San Antonio in the draft.
Spurs Assistant General Manager Brian Wright called both White and Blossomgame “really versatile players.” When asked about which position White will play at the NBA level, Wright responded,
“You don’t have to pigeon hole him.” Wright said White can fill in different roles from game to game. In some games, he might have more responsibility as a point guard, while in other games, he could mainly be a shooting guard.
With the Summer League approaching in early July, Buford said the team will start getting the squad together next week to start practicing. Wright mentioned White, Blossomgame and Dejounte Murray will all be playing with the Spurs in the Summer League.
While the draft is just the first part of the offseason to pass by, the rumor mill might just be getting started, as the next offseason adventure will be NBA free agency, which begins on July 1.