The 2021 NBA Draft is finally here and there have been plenty of rumors flying around about what the San Antonio Spurs might do Thursday night.
There have been the rumors that they will move up into the top 10 and of course there are the rumors that they could move back and nab a couple extra picks in the first round. However, the most likely scenario is that they stand pat and pick at 12 since they are a franchise that doesn’t often make big trades, especially on draft night. Here is what you should expect if any of those three previously mentioned scenarios take place.
If the Spurs trade up into the top-10, they are likely doing so to get into the top-5 as it’s not worth moving up only two or three picks from where they stand now. This could signal a couple young guards on the move in some form of Lonnie Walker, Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, or Derrick White. Whoever of those four ends up getting moved, you have to believe that the Spurs love someone in that top five or so that’s a guard. Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green would be the likely pick here in this instance.
This would probably require a trade with the Rockets (so that isn’t happening) or the Raptors. More than that, the Spurs would then have to take on salary in the process to just meet the salary floor unless they plan to sign all of the free agents available in the offseason.
While I don’t believe this will happen, it is a much more likely scenario than the Spurs trading up. The most common rumor linked to this trade happening is with the Knicks who have the 19th and 21st pick in this draft. This would essentially give the Spurs back-to-back picks on players they don’t mind sending to the G-League. They could also spend one pick on a bit of a homerun swing kind of guy and one “safer” pick. I also happen to think that they would be able to grab two frontcourt players at those picks if they really wanted. Two players that stick out to me are Ziaire Williams and Isaiah Jackson in that range.
Of course, they could find themselves picking at least one guard with those picks and have someone back up the aforementioned quartet of guards already on the roster along with Tre Jones. If that’s the case, be on the lookout for Chris Duarte or Nah’Shon Hyland to get picked.
Keep the 12th Pick
To me, this is the most likely scenario and should be the expectation from fans. The Spurs will have plenty of options to address their needs at the 12th pick. Kai Jones is a nice homerun swing of a pick as a big man, Franz Wagner is a safe pick as a wing, and Jalen Johnson could be a sneaky good wing player right away. There are more options of course, but those three might be the ones I like the most.
Should the Spurs select a backcourt player at 12, then I would expect some trade rumors and reports to start swirling almost immediately. They could be selecting for someone else and could be close to making a move. This could also signal their willingness to part with other guards on their roster to get some frontcourt help and possibly assets in return for a trade with a team that needs to shed contract(s).
In all, just remember that this is the Spurs we’re talking about and that if they have the chance to do the most boring thing possible, they will. So don’t expect too many major swings for trades or even too risky a pick. They don’t want to get burned by another Milutinov or have a Hanga situation on their hands.
Strap in and get ready for the NBA Draft equivalent of Disney’s Great Movie Ride. Boring, but a nice breather from all the heat happening lately.