NBA San Antonio Spurs

2013 NBA Draft: Livio Jean-Charles Helps Spurs in Both Present and Future

On a draft night that was as crazy and unpredictable as we’ve ever seen, at least one variable remained constant: the San Antonio Spurs drafted another international player. The Spurs selected French forward Livio Jean-Charles with the 28th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft Thursday night, keeping with their tradition of drafting and developing international talent.

Jean-Charles is young and raw, but undeniably talented. He has spent the past year playing limited minutes for the French team ASVEL, a club that also happens to be partially owned by Spurs guard Tony Parker. While Jean-Charles’ numbers from his limited playing time with ASVEL do not necessarily impress, he made his biggest splash this year at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Jean-Charles dominated the Summit, scoring 27 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, as the World team defeated Team USA. Jean-Charles displayed his ability to defend both forward positions, rebound, move well without the ball and finish at the rim at the Summit, impressing everyone and leading him to become a projected late-first to early-second-round pick at this year’s draft.

The main areas of improvement Jean-Charles needs to work on are his physical strength, ball-handling and the range on his jump shot. Being only 19, Jean-Charles needs to continue to fill out his 6-foot-9, 217-pound frame to be able to defend other forwards in today’s NBA. His ball-handling, which is shaky at best, could use some refinement if the Spurs plan to try him at small forward. And while Jean-Charles already possesses the ability to step out and hit the long range jump shot, he will need to become a more consistent three-point shooter if he is going to contribute at the NBA level.

As they often do, the Spurs will likely stash Jean-Charles for at least the upcoming season. This will give Jean-Charles more time to develop his game, and also give the Spurs more flexibility this offseason. The Spurs selection of Jean-Charles over players such as Jamaal Franklin or Allen Crabbe, whom likely would have made the Spurs roster for the 2013-14 season, gives the Spurs both more cap space and an extra roster spot to potentially pursue a big free agent this summer, as well as any number of their own.

So, while Spurs fans will likely not hear from Jean-Charles for at least a few years, they should be pleased with the Spurs’ selection of him, as it will likely pay off both in the present and in the future.

 

Justin Brown covers the San Antonio Spurs and NBA in general for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Real_JBrown, like him on Facebook, add him on Google+