After coming within seconds of their fifth NBA Championship in a little more than a decade, the San Antonio Spurs are facing an uncertain future which hinges on big decisions to be made by the team’s Big Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. The Spurs are no strangers to dipping into the European talent pool to grab a future star — see the aforementioned Parker — and have done just that again, selecting French big man Livio Jean-Charles with the No. 28 pick of the 2013 NBA Draft.
The 6’9″, 217 pound Charles dominated the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit which brings together some of the best players in the world for a summer showcase prior to the NBA Draft. Charles put up an impressive 27 points and 13 points against the USA Select Team, comprised of some of the most promising talent in the States, opening eyes of NBA scouts in attendance and helping his draft stock skyrocket from a projection of a late second round pick to a first-rounder, and in turn, to guaranteed money.
Jean-Charles likely projects as a combo forward in the NBA and where he lands position-wise will have in large part to do with whether the Spurs decide to stash him overseas for a season or two — as they are wont to do — to allow him to develop additional physical strength and bulk, or if by force they are required to give him minutes next season should Tim Duncan and perhaps even Manu Ginobili decide to walk away into the sunset.
At 6’9″ Jean-Charles may be best served to develop his mid-range and perimeter game to begin the process of adapting into a straight small forward role for the Spurs, where he could nicely compliment a guy like Kawhi Leonard who is without a doubt the future of an aging franchise.
I’ll consider it a draft roll for the Spurs to take Jean-Charles late in the first-round, but I’m also never one to second-guess Gregg Popovich or his acumen in finding and molding the best French talent.