2014 NBA Draft: 5 Players the San Antonio Spurs Should Target
These 5 Players Should be Targeted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Draft
Every team looks to obtain players who can help their franchise immediately, or at least in a few short years. The San Antonio Spurs will look to do just that in this year's draft. With one of the oldest, if not the oldest, cores of any team in the NBA, it is imperative for the Spurs to get younger, fast. Their "Big 3" in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker don't have much gas left in the tank in terms of years to be played, at least together.
Duncan, age 37, and Ginobili, age 36, are both under contract until the end of the 2014-15 season. Parker is too, but the difference for him is that he's only 31 and will probably play another 4-5 years after this contract runs out. They have all said they plan on at least playing out the rest of their current contracts, but there is a looming question about both Duncan and Ginobili's future after that. They are all slated to be unrestricted free agents at the same time and will probably leave the team one way or another.
The young guys on this team who get consistent minutes are Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph and Danny Green. As we have seen this year and a few years back, a couple of them are injury-prone already. Splitter missed 20+ games in two out of his first three years in the league, while Leonard has missed significant time this season. That leaves three core young guys and a few more on the roster who aren't injury-prone but are also highly unproven commodities at the moment.
The mileage on the older players, even Parker who plays virtually year-round, and the unpredictable future of the young players means the Spurs need to draft guys who can right those ships. I'm sure the "Big 3" would love another championship together as well. So, on Thursday, June 26, in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Spurs should target these five players.
5. Cory Jefferson
The first targeted player by the Spurs should be someone who can learn the game from Duncan. Cory Jefferson of Baylor should be one of the leading candidates to do so. The Spurs won't have a high draft pick unless they trade up, so Jefferson -- along with the rest of the guys in this article -- are all guys I think will be available when the Spurs have to make their picks. Jefferson is 6-foot-9, 220-pounds, and is averaging 13.0 points and a career-high 8.4 rebounds per game. He leads his team in scoring and rebounding, and is 4th in the Big 12 -- the toughest conference in college basketball -- in rebounding as well.
We might not get to see him and his team in the big dance because they are a bubble team with a couple of tough games left before their conference tournament. But Baylor did win last season's NIT, and could well be on their way to doing so again this year behind their senior leader.
4. Nik Stauskas
The next player is only a sophomore, but a darn good one at that. Nik Stauskas of Michigan is an intimidating shooting guard at the college level, seeing as he's 6-foot-5, 205-pounds. In a Big 10 conference that is perennially known for its defense, Stauskas is fifth in the conference with 17.1 PPG. He is less than one full point per game away from leading this conference in that category. He also leads his No. 12 ranked Wolverines in both scoring and assists per game.
3. James Michael McAdoo
At the beginning of the college basketball season, James Michael McAdoo looked like he needed to at least finish his degree in college before going to the NBA. Now, he's got the Tar Heels of North Carolina steamrolling through the ACC. McAdoo, a junior, leads his team in rebounding and is second in scoring. He's doing all that for a team that has now won 12 straight games to jump into third in the conference and become the No. 14 ranked team in the nation. He's also another guy who can learn how to be a skilled power forward from Duncan.
2. Shabazz Napier
A former National Champion and now elite player in the country is always someone to take a look at if you're an NBA scout. Shabazz Napier of Connecticut is that guy who can fall to being a steal in this year's draft. He's an undersized point guard in NBA terms at only 6-foot-1,180-pounds, but he's a hard worker and his numbers show that. Like I said, he's only 6-foot-1 but leads his team in rebounding, scoring, assists, steals and free-throw percentage. He's learned how to be a leader and a champion from guys like Kemba Walker and Alex Oriakhi and is now leading his Huskies to being the No. 19 ranked team in the country.
1. Patric Young
Being a coveted starter on a great college basketball team can give guys plenty of confidence heading into the NBA. Patric Young of Florida is an undersized center, but he plays a lot bigger than he actually is. At 6-foot-9, 240-pounds he's much wider than most kids his age. He is also the starting center on the No. 1 team in the nation to date. He's not exactly the best free-throw shooter, but neither was Blake Griffin when he came out of college. Fixing a shot is the easiest thing for coaches to do; it's the intangibles possessed by Young that you can't teach, and those can help a team like the Spurs tremendously.