The San Antonio Spurs are bringing back most of the team from last year with the additions of Joffrey Lauvergne, Derrick White, Jaron Blossomgame (if signed to a training camp contract), Brandon Paul, London Perrantes, Darrun Hilliard (via signing of 2-way contract) and Matt Costello (via signing of 2-way contract). That means the Spurs should be good yet again and should make the playoffs to continue their epic postseason streak.
While this is awesome and something to look forward to, we also need to be aware of potential draft implications for next summer. This likely means another late pick in 2018. The NBA Draft is exciting in general, but don’t expect the Spurs to have an early pick unless some major trade goes down. So to get it out of the system, this is the first part of a series of posts we’ll have on who you should expect to go early in the draft and why.
*This list is not in any particular order, but all these players should be lottery or mid-first round guys out of reach for the Spurs*
Marvin Bagley – He’s a 6-foot-11 big man who can do about everything. He was supposed to be in the recruiting class of 2018, but reclassified so he can play for Duke this year. He will be on television plenty times with the Blue Devils so you’ll have to get your fill that way. He’s going to start for Duke and should be an excellent offensive player since he can shoot and has a go-to hook move when he posts up. His defense will decide if he goes No. 1 overall or somewhere else in the top five.
Michael Porter Jr. – He was the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2017 until Bagley reclassified. He’s already being compared to Kevin Durant because of his height, athleticism and ability to shoot the ball. Yet, he must prove he’s willing to play defense as well and should find himself the star of a completely revamped Missouri team that has high expectations this year. He’s listed at 6-foot-10 and 215 pounds.
DeAndre Ayton – The Arizona Wildcat is also going to be a freshman this season and is expected to be a huge part of coach Sean Miller’s rebuild after losing Lauri Markkanen and Kobi Simmons to this year’s NBA Draft. He’s listed at 7-foot-1 and 250 pounds. He has to improve his post-game and has to extend his range while getting more consistent with his shot, but he is a gazelle running the floor and has fluidity most players his size don’t have.
Miles Bridges – The Michigan State sophomore returned to East Lansing despite being a top-10 lock this past draft. He has more of the intangibles that coaches like to see in high-profile recruits like wanting to hustle after every loose ball, making winning plays in general and straight up competing. He averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and will likely put up similar numbers while competing for a real Final Four contender. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds. He isn’t as athletic as some of these other guys, but he has shown he doesn’t need all that to score and impact the game.
Mo Bamba – The freshman Texas Longhorn was the No. 3 player in this year’s recruiting class and could be like a Myles Turner for coach Shaka Smart. He’s listed at 6-foot-11 and 225 pounds and will do more than post people up. He does have good touch around the rim and can take other big men off the dribble. He needs to work on his shooting as he shoots less than 70 percent at the free throw line, but his mechanics are solid and he could turn into a good mid-range shooter at the NBA level. He will have a lot of pressure to help Smart turn the program around and get back to the NCAA Tournament so it should be interesting if they can pull it off in the tough Big 12.