After the NBA draft took place and the draft grades and opinions started rolling in there was one thing that was clearly becoming a consensus: the San Antonio Spurs had made a mistake drafting Josh Primo with the 12th overall selection.
Even the media commentary that supported drafting Primo for the Spurs didn’t agree with selecting him so high in the draft; saying the Spurs should have traded back in the first round and picked him up later on while acquiring more assets in the process.
It’s only taken a few games of summer league success to have NBA Twitter NBA Twitter buzzing over the bursts of talent Primo is showing at a much higher level of competition in the summer league. The youngest player drafted in the entire draft this year; Primo won’t turn 19 until December 24th this year so the growing pains are expected.
But showing off the raw tools that the Spurs coaching staff can mold this talent into should strike fear into the other Western conference teams planning to build contenders over the next decade.
And that was the entire point of this pick by Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio front office. Looking at the Western conference, you can make the argument that it’s as talented as it’s ever been. And in the valiant effort to keep that playoff streak alive and contend as long as possible, the Spurs boxed themselves into a life of mediocrity these last few years.
Committing to a Rebuild and a Brighter Future
But now that they have done right by the last of the veterans (Patty Mills leaving officially makes the title winning teams gone) the Spurs are positioning themselves for rebuilding. Just like Popovich to zig while the rest of the West zags and tries to contend.
The other big bright spot from this year’s summer league for the Spurs has been Devin Vassell. My #4 ranked prospect in last year’s draft, Vassell is showing signs of growth (especially in the pick and roll) now that he is getting accustomed to the NBA game.
With big man Jalen Duren reclassifying and coming in next year’s draft, 4 of the top 5 prospects on a lot of early big boards are centers. Between Duren, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Yannick Nzosa, it feels like the Spurs are prepared to bet on the revamped lottery odds to bounce them somewhere into the top 4 to find their center of the future.
From there, the options are there for the Spurs. Whether those are the players that can grow together into a title contender or you use some of those pieces to trade for a disgruntled star who wants to go play in the Spurs culture, the choice would be up to one of the smartest front offices in the NBA.
Don’t sleep on the Spurs during their slumber. The league saw for 22 years how persistently good they can be once they get back on track.