The San Antonio Spurs are staying hot and poised for yet another playoff run even though we haven’t even reached the NBA All-Star break yet. That means they will be picking outside of the lottery yet again and so some scouting will need to be done for those guys that aren’t surefire top picks. Not everyone gets the luxury of rebuilding every few years through the draft and getting a top five pick, so the Spurs must get it right late in the draft and for down the road.
So that leads us to our own prospect watch with this week’s potential pick being Thomas Bryant out of Indiana. The 6’10”, 245-pound forward has improved his game despite some of his shooting percentages dropping from his freshman to sophomore seasons. He went from 70.7 percent from inside the arc and 68.3 percent overall to 54.1 percent and 51.2 percent, respectively. His freshman season he only took shots at the rim though, which is why he shot such a ridiculous percentage last season.
He can now shoot out to the midrange and even beyond the arc. He did improve in that regard while taking more shots as well. He went from taking only 0.4 shots from three-point land to taking 1.6 a game and going from shooting 33.3 percent to 41.4 percent so that’s a good sign of improvement.
His other important stats for this season:
- 73.6 percent free throw shooting
- 11.6 points per game (17.4 points per 40 minutes)
- 1.7 blocks per game
- 6.9 rebounds per game
Bryant also has a great motor and is incredibly physical on defense, both traits that the Spurs can certainly appreciate. His motor is one of the reasons he doesn’t play 30 minutes or more though as he only plays about 27 minutes (in a 40-minute basketball game), as he tires fairly easily, so working on his stamina will be something that has to be worked on. But his length will help him when he is on the floor as he has about a 7’6” wingspan, which will definitely makes passing a lot more difficult on the guys he will be guarding.
With the NBA Draft so far out, there is still no consensus on where Bryant might land, but most people have him outside of the lottery for now. He could fall to the Spurs depending on other team needs and potential injuries or trades that happen between now, February and the end of the season. He’ll definitely be a key player in the Big Ten to keep an eye on and could very well end up winning the Player of the Year award in the conference.