Eubanks’ Future With Spurs Slipping Minute-by-Minute

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Project Spurs illustration/Associated Press

By Jonas Clark

Idle minds can lead to a lot of thinking, and in the case of Spurs fans – projecting. Sitting outside of the All-Star festivities, and currently, the playoffs, the San Antonio faithful are bracing for the resumption of the rodeo road trip where the team is 1-5 through the first six games. When it seems like the season is up in flames, fans are reaching for anything to create change and try to douse the fire, and the youth movement seems like just the fix. Everyone wants to see Keldon Johnson, Luka Samanic and Quinndary Weatherspoon – the latest draft class – but I believe one person needs minutes even more – Drew Eubanks.

In his second season, and coming off a Player of the Game Performance in Austin’s most recent contest, Drew Eubanks is an oft-forgotten name when it comes to the team’s youth. He impressed last Thursday with 26 points, 13 boards, 6 assists and 3 blocks in 37 minutes against the Miami G-League affiliate – the Sioux Falls Skyforce. A tweet I shared on his performance sparked some interesting conversation this weekend and forced me to take a deeper look at the Drew Eubanks situation. While his production this season may be a tick under his stats from last season, he flashes moments of dominance like this. The pressing reason for more NBA minutes when it comes to Eubanks is his expiring deal.

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(Source: https://www.spotrac.com/nba/free-agents/san-antonio-spurs/)

Approaching the end of his two-way contract, he is one of six players that could find themselves in new colors when the 2020-2021 NBA season tips-off in the fall. Currently sitting in the 10 seed would hint that the San Antonio Spurs need to upgrade to contend next year. Would Drew Eubanks make the San Antonio Spurs better? I don’t believe so.

There are three factors working against Eubanks – His size, his style, and the Spurs’ current payroll situation. 

SIZE

Drew is listed at 6’9”, 245lbs as a Power-Forward / Center, but I believe we need to drop “center” to move forward in this discussion. While he can play center in “small ball” lineups, that can’t be the criteria for keeping him, because the Spurs have so many role players already and are in need of consistent contribution up and down the bench. He’s got a great motor and a lot of heart, and that alone is why I advocate for him getting more run as the season closes out, to see if that can make up for his lack of size, and to my next point – his style of play.

PLAY STYLE

Looking at the highlight reel the Austin Spurs shared after the win last week over the Skyforce, Eubanks looks strong in the post and appears to be an instant upgrade over LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles for San Antonio. At his size, however, think of his competition on the roster as Rudy Gay (6’8”) and Trey Lyles (6’9”), and they give you more versatility than Drew. This is the age of stretching the floor, and over three seasons at Oregon State and to this point with Austin, Drew hasn’t even attempted a three-point shot, so I don’t see that changing soon. Even the rookie Samanic shows great ability to hit from deep. That brings me to the final factor working against his bid for a contract with the San Antonio Spurs after the season.

SPURS PAYROLL

The organization is committed to Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, and LaMarcus Aldridge through next season, and has a decision to make this year on Jakob Poeltl in addition to Eubanks. The first three names all provide range and versatility that Drew doesn’t, and Poeltl is a true 7-foot center who is dominant on defense and growing on offense. DeMar DeRozan has a player option for next year and enters this conversation due to the team’s need for star-power. If DeRozan leaves, I would love to see that money and even more go toward bringing in an All-Star caliber leader to mentor the young core which is more likely to include Samanic and Chimezie Metu over Eubanks. With the majority of the roster on contracts expiring this season and next, Eubanks’ lack of size and his outdated style of play isn’t a worthy investment. 

At the end of the day, I need a chance to see more NBA action from Drew Eubanks, but time is running out. There is an option to keep him with the organization next season on a G-League affiliate contract, but the best situation for Drew might be to look for another two-way deal away from the Spurs. A more complete franchise with star-power that is in the market for effort players to contribute would give him the best opportunity to continue his NBA dream. If he does sign an affiliate contract with Austin, don’t be surprised to hear his name come up when we start the 10-day contract process next January. Maybe then we’ll get to truly see how he translates to the NBA.

What do you think – Should the Spurs make an offer to Drew Eubanks after this season? Does he deserve more time with San Antonio before the decision needs to be made? Let me know on Twitter @jarkclonas or through @ProjectSpurs, or leave a comment below.

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