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The Spurs’ turn into a contender begins with the 2022 NBA draft.

On Thursday evening, Golden State Warriors won Boston Celtics win his fourth championship in eight years to close the door on the 2021/2022 NBA season. Exactly one week later, on June 23, the next season starts, as NBA draft will give teams their first chance to make additions.

For the San Antonio Spurs, this event will really set the tone for the offseason. Two months ago, when the San Antonio season ended with a game loss for the second year in a row, I wrote, “The (Spurs) now have the resources to move in whatever direction they choose, be it option A: cashing in on one player, or option B: slow building through the draft. The first rebuild season was successful because it set the stage for this franchise to decide how they want to continue turning this team into a contender. Now the next few months will show us which path they will take: A or B.” This Thursday will be the first opportunity to see which direction the Spurs front office decides to take.

Neither option is necessarily bad. Cashing in assets for established players means the Spurs could be back on the playoff hunt starting next season, and if the new additions match up with some of the current Spurs, they could pose a threat for years to come. But one has to wonder looking at this year NBA Finals (and when looking at the Spurs’ own success story) if building in the draft isn’t a better path. Eight of the ten NBA Finals contestants were selected by their current team and raised by the same coaching staff. Most of the players have played together for years and developed chemistry over time, which is a big reason why both teams were able to get through three grueling playoff streaks.

The Spurs front office will certainly notice this trend, and given they have a high level of trust in their scouts, they can rely on their data to pick the right players and rebuild the Spurs with San Antonio’s own progression system. and Austin. , as before. They already have a plethora of young talent of varying calibers, from All-Star rookie Dejount Murray and US gold medalist Keldon Johnson to recent lottery picks Devin Vassell and Josh Primo. Silver & Black may not have a lot of stellar talent, but in the youth department they definitely do.

So the question is, will adding four more draftees help the Spurs meet their long-term goals? Maybe, but sooner or later they will have to decide which young players they like the most because 1) they can’t pay them all and 2) there aren’t enough minutes to make enough development progress. . So, even if they decide to continue with the youth movement, the clock is ticking. It may be time to take the risk, which the Spurs seem ready to take.

Looking through last year’s draft, I found an article I wrote about San Antonio general manager Brian Wright and his post-draft media comments that can be applied to this year’s draft and can give a good idea of ​​who the Spurs are. can choose this year.

“The best player available, the best potential ceiling in the long run. Some key goals we want to achieve are versatility and shooting,” Wright said immediately after the end of the 2021 draft.

It looks like whoever is the best player available at the 9th pick will be picked by San Antonio, even if it’s another defender, which is the right approach. If the Spurs don’t cash in their picks for the star in the trade, they’ll need to find her in the draft and develop him, like Boston and Golden State did. Unfortunately, players who have unmistakable center player potential will most likely not make it into the top five, so they may have to jump over fences on some riskier prospects.

Take Sadeon Sharp, for example. Once a potential top 5 pick starts to fall in the pre-draft process after a disappointing practice session, according to reports. With so little information on him, he could fall to ninth place, where San Antonio would have an opportunity to pick him. Sharpe certainly has a high ceiling and is still considered by some to be one of the best players to have come out of this draft despite being a bit of an enigma after not playing last year. He can hit the ball hard as hell and is certainly versatile thanks to his 6ft 5in height and 6ft 11in wingspan. Sharp, in particular, stands out as a potential target, but there could be others who would be good targets if what Wright said last year holds true this Thursday and whose ceiling is at the top of the Spurs wish list.

With a roster already made up of eight guaranteed contracts, four non-guaranteed deals and a possible over $30 million to spend as free agents, it’s unlikely the Spurs will bring in four new rookies with three guaranteed contracts from the first round. But if Silver and Black make every assigned choice they currently have, expect the same approach to each of them. Wright made it clear last year that they won’t give up on the BPA mindset, so the wait continues until Thursday as the NBA’s most secretive organization keeps its cards to itself.

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