It’s been almost a week since the San Antonio Spurs drafted Devin Vassell 11th and Tre Jones 41st in the NBA Draft. That’s given us plenty of time to ruminate and properly evaluate these picks. The Spurs did not necessarily draft a position of need in the second round, but did get a good-to-great talent with their first round pick that has clarified their stance on how they want to play moving forward.
The Spurs decided that they are going for a far more defensive approach by picking a former ACC Defensive Player of the Year in Tre Jones and a versatile defender in Vassell. Enough seasons of Marco Belinelli and Bryn Forbes jacking shots with no defense on the other end has forced them to reverse their thinking on that philosophy.
Neither picks were a reach — which can’t be said for some other teams picking in the lottery — and were in fact, fantastic value picks.
Devin Vassell (11th): A
This was a case of taking the best talent available while also filling a need on the wing. Vassell will have to put on some weight to guard bigger wings, but has the footwork and speed to guard three positions right now. He’s a good shooter despite his unorthodox form, so he is not a complete liability on either end of the floor.
The 6-foot-7 wing man may spend some time in Austin, but should be an excellent insurance policy for Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan should either get injured or moved during the season. It may take him a few NBA games to get the game speed and cadence down, but Vassell is a smart, well-coached (at Florida State) player who will figure out the game and how to play it at the next level.
Tre Jones (41st): B+
The Spurs might have gotten a bit of a steal here. As mentioned earlier, he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season and that will show up immediately in his first professional game in either San Antonio or Austin. He is tenacious on defense and often forced other teams to run their offense through a secondary guard in college.
He doesn’t have the positional versatility you hope for in a defender of his caliber. However, he has also improved his offensive repertoire as he became a much better three-point shooter in his sophomore campaign. He will have the opportunity to prove that wasn’t a fluke with Forbes now gone and Belinelli likely to follow. He can run an offense for you and won’t make mistakes, even if he isn’t the flashiest player out there.