The NBA Draft is quickly creeping up on us! The Draft is set to take place on Thursday, June 22, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. As of June 1st, the Spurs will own two picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, one in each round.
Since the Spurs had a great season, they were slotted near the end. The Spurs own the 29th overall pick for the second year in a row. Last year, they took point guard Dejounte Murray from Washington, and he surprised a lot of fans throughout his first season. He averaged 3.4 points through 38 games during his rookie season. In Round 2, the Spurs will have the 59th pick.
If you’re a little nervous about the Spurs’ draft picks, just remember that the Spurs selected Manu Ginobili at No. 28 in 2001 and George Hill at No. 26 in 2008. San Antonio is used to being at the end of each round due to their consistent success, so there’s no need to worry!
The Spurs have also been known for the draft-and-stash strategy. They sometimes select foreign players who have potential, but they know they won’t join to NBA for some years. In 2015, we saw this with Nikola Milutinov, a center from Serbia, with their first-round pick. Since this season is coming to an end, it’s time to make predictions for what’s to come.
Pasecnicks is a center from Latvia who has also been rumored to join the Denver Nuggets. Pasecniks stands at 7’2”, finishes well around the rim, has solid hands, and moves smooth throughout the court. He’s recently shown that he can shoot the ball from a distance.
Finding success in Latvia isn’t new for San Antonio. In 2011, the Spurs selected David Bertans with a trade that sent George Hill to the Indiana Pacers – all to get Bertans and Kawhi Leonard back. Bertans averaged 4.5 points and 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his first season in the U.S. Not bad.
Adebayo is most likely going to be one of the only centers left by the time the Spurs pick because he doesn’t have much size compared to the others. However, his athleticism makes up for it. At the draft combine, he recorded a standing vertical of 33.5″ and a max vertical of 38.5″, showing he has the tools to leap as a rim runner and protector. He relies on cuts and rolls to the basket on offense, plus put-backs from offensive rebounds. In fact, he crashes the offensive glass so often that he averaged 3.1 of them each game at Kentucky!
Many would say the Spurs need to focus on big guys, and that’s where Patton comes in. Standing at 6’11” with a 7’3″ wingspan and 9’3″ standing reach, he has the length, mobility, and soft hands needed to be standout center in the NBA. He’s a strong rim protector, but has an issue with fouling – and we know Coach Pop won’t take any of that. He averaged 3 fouls per game at Creighton and was disqualified from four contests! He has a lot of improving to do, but the Spurs are known for turning players great.
Swanigan’s story is one like you’ve never heard. Swanigan’s father was a cocaine addict and spent his childhood bouncing around between homeless shelters. He lived on a diet of whatever his mom could afford – with a desire for sweets. He went into the eighth grade weighing 360 pounds! When he got to high school, he lost 100 pounds. Today, he is a 6-foot-9, 245-pound low-post star.
After his freshman season at Purdue, Swanigan entered the NBA draft combine. He soon realized he wasn’t ready and returned to school. He, then, dominated the Big Ten as a sophomore – averaging 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 52.7% shooting! He was awarded conference Player of the Year and first-team All-American honors. He isn’t explosive or quick, which makes him questionable. If no one steals Swanigan before the 29th pick, the Spurs might just snatch him.