Tuesday’s Draft Lottery is in the books and Pelicans fans everywhere are rejoicing after New Orleans took home the privilege of making the first selection in the 2019 NBA Draft.
A lucky bounce of the ping pong balls gives the Pelicans the luxury of turning around their franchise by making the obvious choice to draft Zion Williamson first overall come June 20. Pelicans fans are already using their Betfred promo code to wager on the team in anticipation of drafting Williamson. While New Orleans’ pick is a no-brainer, 29 other teams must now sift through the talent pool in hopes of uncovering a player worth developing.
Twenty-two years have come and gone since San Antonio last visited the Draft Lottery, but that hasn’t stopped them from discovering hidden gems throughout the night’s 60 selections. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard were all drafted outside of the lottery, and each of them has become multiple time All-Stars.
Though the Draft hasn’t produced an All-Star in recent years, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White seem like the best candidates in line for that coveted midseason honor. Both guards were taken with the 29th pick in their respective drafts, and both have exceeded their expectations by a country mile.
San Antonio owns the 19th, 29th and 49th picks in the upcoming draft and several promising players may be available. The 2019 offseason will be a summer of several important decisions, but before we get to Free Agency, the Spurs must first find three players who fit the culture and needs of their organization.
Keeping that in mind, who are some prospects we might see in Silver and Black next season?
Round 1 | Pick 19
Best Fit: Brandon Clarke | Gonzaga | Jr | F | 6-8 | 208 lbs
San Antonio could use a forward with defensive switchability and positional versatility, and that’s exactly what they’d be getting in Brandon Clarke. The 6-8 combo-forward posted the second-lowest Defensive Rating in the nation last season and was a legitimate contender for the 2018-19 NABC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Clarke’s offensive repertoire was primarily limited to open dunks and put-back jams, but the Spurs likely wouldn’t ask him to contribute heavily on that end of the floor right away. His endless motor, nose for boards and dedication to defense should be enough to entice San Antonio to give the explosive athlete a chance at pick 19.
Pro Comparison: Josh Smith/James Johnson
Probable Pick: Keldon Johnson | Kentucky | Fr | G/F | 6-6 | 216 lbs
The Spurs have plenty of guards on the roster, but Keldon Johnson’s 6-9 wingspan should give him the ability to slide up to the small forward position with ease. Though he’ll need to put on weight and dial in on the defensive side of the ball, the Kentucky product has the physical tools to become a plus defender.
Keldon Johnson got Rupp Arena rockin’ early with the steal and slam 💪pic.twitter.com/J3WPWc64PE
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) January 23, 2019
Johnson is already an elite rebounder for his position and his jumper needs little refining heading into the next level. He can create his own shot, finish with both hands and San Antonio shouldn’t pass on him if he’s available.
Pro Comparison: Andre Iguodala/Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Longshot: Rui Hachimura | Gonzaga | Jr | F | 6-8 | 230 lbs
Hachimura will probably be long gone before the Silver and Black are on the board. If that isn’t the case, the Spurs should snatch him up before the rest of the league does.
— Stadium (@Stadium) May 9, 2019
The Gonzaga forward has a strong build, long limbs, and high ceiling. He can put the ball on the floor and shut down scorers when engaged, and he may just become the steal of the draft if he falls out of the lottery.
Pro Comparison: Paul Milsap/Wilson Chandler
Round 1 | Pick 29
Best Fit: Matisse Thybulle | Washington | Sr | G/F | 6-5 | 201 lbs
Matisse Thybulle embodies everything the San Antonio Spurs love to see in a player. Excellent defender? Check. High motor? Check. Great character? Check.
Thybulle led the nation in steals per game and finished 18th in blocks per game all while spearheading one of college basketball’s top defenses. His three-point shot floundered a bit in his final season at Washington, but his prior body of work should reassure those doubting his 3-and-D potential.
Pro Comparison: Danny Green/Andre Roberson
Probable Pick: Admiral Schofield | Tennessee | Sr | G/F | 6-6 | 241 lbs
Admiral Schofield probably isn’t the first player that comes to mind when coming up with a match made in heaven for San Antonio. However, Schofield could make for a great fit in Alamo City.
While the Tennessee Senior is undersized for the forward position, he has modern combo-forward written all over him. Schofield can shoot the long-ball, hold his ground in the post, and possesses just enough hops to make a run at every rebound in his vicinity.
Pro Comparison: Jae Crowder/P. J. Tucker
Longshot: Charles Bassey | WKU | Fr | C | 6-10 | 245 lbs
Between LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl, the Silver and Black are secure in their starting frontcourt. With that being said, their second unit could use some help, and Bassey could bolster the lineup.
He might not make it this far into the draft, but his decision to commit to Conference-USA school Western Kentucky University leaves the possibility open for a draft day slide.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) December 29, 2018
As a person who watched Bassey play live a few times during the college basketball season, the kid is a physical specimen. Although his athleticism is far ahead of his basketball ability, his 45.0% three-point percentage (0.6 3PA), 76.9% free throw success rate, and 2.4 blocks per game imply stretch-five potential.
Pro Comparison: Clint Capela/Serge Ibaka/Robert Williams
Round 2 | Pick 49
Best Fit: Luka Samanic| Croatia | Intl | PF | 6-11 | 209 lbs
Samanic is this year’s international man of mystery, and the Spurs are notorious for developing overseas prospects. Though Luka may not be NBA-ready this season, he’s a perfect draft and stash pick at 49.
Going back through the tape, 6'11 Croatian forward Luka Samanic made so many impact plays on both ends of the floor yesterday. Inside-out scoring threat who played with solid toughness/physicality. Showed his ability to step out and switch as well. Great day for him overall. pic.twitter.com/kEbok643VF
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) May 17, 2019
The 19-year-old has turned heads in Europe and his game should translate well in today’s space and pace environment. His ceiling is high and his floor is dangerously low. For that reason alone, his first-round interest will likely become second-round appeal.
Pro Comparison: Dario Saric/Nemanja Bjelica
Probable Pick: Aubrey Dawkins | UCF | Jr | G/F | 6-6 | 204 lbs
San Antonio doesn’t really need another guard, but that shouldn’t stop them from investing in the best player available. Dawkins is a lights-out shooter and a Slam Dunk Contest leaper.
His father is a former first-round pick and San Antonio Spur. He has the pedigree, now all he needs is an opportunity. Although that chance will almost certainly come in the G-Leauge, many great Spurs have honed their skills in Austin.
Pro Comparison: Josh Richardson/Courtney Lee
Longshot: Jontay Porter | Missouri | So | C | 6-11 | 240 lbs
A first-round lock a year ago, Jontay Porter has tumbled down NBA big boards as his draft stock diminished due to injury. He showed enough flashes of brilliance in 2018 to warrant intrigue, and he’s reportedly slimmed down significantly.
Jontay Porter is much leaner at this year's NBA Draft Combine. He checked in at 210 pounds with 8.5 body fat %.
At last year's Combine he was 236 lbs with 13.85 body fat %.
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) May 16, 2019
Jontay can shoot, pass, rebound and defend. The only question is whether or not he can keep off the weight and stay healthy.
There’s little doubt someone will gamble on Porter early. However, the Spurs will keep their fingers crossed in the event he begins to slip. He has starter potential and this would be a ridiculous value this late in the proceedings.
Pro Comparison: Al Horford/Andrew Bogut/Brad Miller