Spurs Prospect Watch: Ray Spalding

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The San Antonio Spurs are starting to bring in prospects for workouts ahead of the 2018 NBA Draft coming next month. While this week’s prospect has not been brought in — reportedly or otherwise — he might be a good steal for the Spurs come June. The Louisville big man could be the kind of versatile forward this team needs, but that will have to be weighed against some issues he has on the offensive end.

Spalding can be a versatile defensive big man in the sense that he can switch on to smaller defenders and not have too much trouble. He’s also a great rebounder on both ends of the floor and has a little bit of a mid-range shot to help space the floor.

Here are some of his stats:

  • 12.3 PPG, 1.7 BPG, 1.5 SPG, 8.7 RPG
  • 54.3 FG%, 26.3 3P%, 64.0 FT%
    • Per-40 stats:
      • 17.8 PPG, 2.5 BPG, 2.2 SPG, 12.5 RPG
  • 114.4 ORtg, 92.8 DRtg, 25.6 PER

Spalding is a highly efficient player as he was able to record those numbers this year playing less than 30 minutes a game. He made a huge leap in his junior year as he improved on his shooting from all over the floor and his rebounding. He was also a huge reason the Cardinals didn’t fall off a cliff after the sudden firing of former coach Rick Pitino right before the season. The Cards finished with 22 wins and barely missed out on the NCAA Tournament this past season.

Spalding’s 6-foot-10, 215-pound frame coupled with his 7-foot-4 wingspan will have several teams drooling over his potential defensively. He had 62 blocks this year, which is more than his freshman and sophomore seasons combined. He collected about 21 percent of all available defensive rebounds and about 13 percent of all available offensive rebounds. That defensive number might be a little low for a guy who’s supposed to be an excellent rebounder, but it should go way up after he adds some weight to his frame. That will allow him to hold his ground against stronger players and not get pushed out of the rebounding radius.

The likely second-round big man was more aggressive offensively this season, but he still had a tendency to defer when it should have been him scoring at times. That can certainly be fixed under the right coaching and should be viewed as a plus on a Spurs team that could potentially have two or three alphas in the scoring department.

All in all, Spalding is a solid athlete who’s motor never stops and would be a great pick and roll option as he sets excellent screens for his guards. He’s a decent playmaker for his size, but he will need to work on his ball handling a bit more if he wants a larger role in the offense. He will need to improve his face-up game as well if he wants to stick around in today’s NBA. He should be a nice steal in the second should he fall that far to the Spurs in the draft.

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