Draft Picks: 1st Round: None; 2nd Round: #37, #51, #53
Current Roster: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/roster?team=SAS
Expiring Contracts: G/F Michael Finley ($2.5 mil), F/C Drew Gooden ($1.4 mil), F/G Ime Udoka ($1.1 mil), G Jacque Vaughn ($1.3 mil)
Needs: Starting small forward; tall, athletic center; wing depth; post depth
Draft Overview: If the Spurs want to make it back to the top, they’re going to need to make some big moves in the off season. A guard/forward like Dahntay Jones to replace Michael Finley would be great, and I would love to see R.C. Buford aggressively pursue C/F Rasheed Wallace for the MLE. Also, the front office could look at packaging multiple small contracts and perhaps future picks to a team looking to unload on a talented but overpaid player. Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter were names brought up last season – I don’t expect a player of that caliber to be targeted by San Antonio, but maybe we could land a Corey Maggette or Marcus Camby?
The draft can do very little to help the Spurs make it back to the Finals. However, San Antonio found a gem near the end of the draft in 1999 (Manu Ginobili), so maybe there’s a future rotational player in their range.
There are many prospects within the Spurs range, as they have three picks from 37-53. Here is a list of some players to look at:
• Jonas Jerebko, F, Sweden (6’9” 225)
• Toney Douglas, G, Florida State (6’1”, 196)
• Damion James, F, Texas (6’7”, 225)
• Nando de Colo, G, France (6’5”, 187)
• Jeff Pendergraph, F/C, Arizona State (6’9”, 230)
• Taj Gibson, F, USC (6’9”, 210)
• Emir Preldzic, F, Bosnia-Herzegovina (6’9”, 220)
There are other possibilities, but those above are some that really intrigued me. Jerebko has great size for a small forward, and is compared to Matt Harpring and Matt Barnes. Douglas doesn’t fill a position of need (same with de Colo), but both are very talented – at this point in the draft, go for BPA; maybe Parker leaves via free agency or Hill gets hurt, a spot could open up for either player. Damion James is a tough forward that might be able to play right away.
Pendergraph is an Oberto-type that knows his role and can do the little things. Taj Gibson needs to bulk up, but if he can add a jumper he could become tough to stop in the faceup game. Preldzic is a developmental point-forward to have sit overseas for a while.
Need doesn’t matter in the second round, IMO, which is why you saw some point guards and very few bigs. None of these players will likely make an early impact, so it’s all about finding hidden talent and developing it. Look for those players that have something special going for them, i.e. Taj Gibson. He’s weak, but very athletic. Give him a jumper and maybe he could turn into a solid scorer. Jerebko has great size, and very few weaknesses. With his tough defense, adequate athleticism, and catch-and-shoot ability, he could make for a very solid role player.
That’s it for now. As I continue to study this year’s draft class, you might see some adjustments to this post. Still a lot of time before the June draft, so many things will change. Stay tuned!
By The Big Three