Draft Prospects Coming To San Antonio
San Antonio is mostly a professional basketball city. There isn’t a major college team within an hour of downtown, there haven’t been a ton of local guys who have had major college success. However, every couple of years, South Texas basketball fans are reminded of the excitement of March Madness. Sometimes it’s the Final Four, other times it’s the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. This year, the rounds of 64 and 32 hit the Alamo City Friday and Sunday.
For those of you, like me, who watch college basketball to help prepare for the draft, this is a really fun time. You get at least a handful of NBA prospects all in one spot, which is something a San Antonio crowd doesn’t get to see for sure. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top prospects that will be in San Antonio this weekend.
1. Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
Analysis: The best scorer in college basketball and most likely the National Player of the Year. The Kyle Korver comparison is so lazy because McDermott can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. Someone on Bill Simmons’ Thursday webcast compared him to Wally Szczerbiak, which I thought was more apt. McDermott isn’t as athletic and can shoot better, but if you’re a comparison guy, that’s probably the closest one. He won’t be much of a defender in the NBA, but the offense will make up for it.
In the Spurs’ range? Not unless they trade up. McDermott is likely a late lottery pick and for sure a top 20 pick.
2. James Michael McAdoo, F, North Carolina
Analysis: It’s possible I’m the last person on the McAdoo bandwagon. The athletic power forward has rebounded from an underwhelming sophomore season. He was surefire lottery pick two years ago, then a fringe first round pick after his sophomore season. Despite a good junior year, McAdoo’s stock has been really hurt. Still, he’s got good size to play the power forward and he is incredibly athletic. He’s also a top-notch defender who plays the passing lanes better than most wings. What’s changed for McAdoo is he’s no longer a big man you can include as a building block to a franchise. He’s more of a bench player. If he keeps working on his jumper, he could fill a role à la pre-achilles injury Darrell Arthur.
In the Spurs’ range? Definitely. Right now, McAdoo is likely a middle-of-the-second-round prospect if he declares. The Draft Combine and individual workouts could change that.
3. Elfrid Payton, PG, Lousiana-Lafayette
Analysis: A rangy, defensive-minded point guard. Doesn’t have much of a jumper but is able to get into the paint. If you think about it he actually fits the Spurs mold for point guards. Remember George Hill and Cory Joseph’s profile before they were drafted. Eerily similar.
In the Spurs’ range? Sure, if they feel they need another point guard. He’s number 30 on Chad Ford’s Big Board right now, so that’s right in their range. But unless something drastic happens, I can’t imagine he’d be a priority.
4. Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor
Analysis: If you look at his profile, Austin is the type of big man the Spurs have pined after for years. Seven feet tall, three point range, can block shots — but that’s just what the profile says. He decided to not to enter the draft after his freshman year because he felt he wasn’t ready for the NBA and wanted to develop more. Sophomore year has not gone to plan. Aside from doubling his block output, he’s seen a dip in every statistical category. His 3-point shot, which was supposed to separate him from others, has dropped to abysmal 28 percent. While he can be incredibly inconsistent, he can still have games where he looks really dominant. That, combined with his physical skills is something front offices take a chance on.
In the Spurs’ range? No doubt, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets a long look if he declares. He’s 51 on Chad Ford’s big board and 47 on Draft Express’. Right now, the Spurs look like they’ll have two late second round picks so Austin seems like someone who will be on their radar if he declares. That’s not a lock though, considering what a disaster his sophomore year has been.
5. DeAndre Kane, PG, Iowa State
Analysis: A big, efficient scorer who gets to the line and can distribute. What’s not to love? Simple, he’ll be 25 by the time the draft rolls around. That means as a first round pick, he’d be close to 30 by the time his first contract expires. So he’s going to get drafted in the second round and could even make an impact. He’s been able to shoot 38 percent from three and take seven free-throw attempts per game. That’s a skill that is valuable to an NBA team with a second-round pick or two no matter what the age.
In the Spurs’ range? Yeah, and with potentially two second round picks couldn’t you just see them drafting a point guard just for the hell of it?
Other players may jump out at you over the weekend, and some of these guys might not even declare for the draft. But this is a good starting point as the games get going.