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Who San Antonio Spurs Should Target in 2015 NBA Draft

Apr 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) reacts at the end of the 2015 NCAA Men's Division I Championship semi-final game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium. Wisconsin won 71-64. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2015

The San Antonio Spurs are engaged in the playoffs, but the front office must be checking in on prospects for June's 2015 NBA draft.

Although the core of the team's roster has gone largely unchanged for four years, the Spurs will likely undergo some upheaval in their depth this offseason.

Marco Belinelli, Matt Bonner and Jeff Ayres will be unrestricted free agents, and there's no guarantee San Antonio will re-sign any of them. Plus, since Cory Joseph will become a restricted free agent, a different team could offer the point guard more money than the Spurs are willing to match.

Considering San Antonio holds the 26th overall pick, per NBA.com, their options may be limited. Nevertheless, if available, the Spurs should target these players in the draft.

 

Delon Wright, Point Guard, Utah

If Murray State's Cameron Payne somehow falls to the Spurs, they ought to snatch him off the draft board. But if Payne has already been selected—as is likelyDelon Wright would be a respectable consolation prize.

He screams "Cory Joseph 2.0."

A 6'5" point guard out of Utah, Wright is adept at operating out of pick-and-roll sets, a necessary skill for playing for San Antonio. He added 5.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and just 1.9 turnovers per game, while leading the Utes to a Sweet 16 appearance and earning All-American honors, as Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune noted:

Wright displayed a decent mid-range jumper, and an 83.6 percent clip from the free-throw line suggests a solid shooting touch. While he connected on just 35.6 percent of his threes as a senior, Wright had bricked his way to a 22.2 percent mark the year before.

If Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland has a chance to work with Wright, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him develop into a legitimate three-point weapon.

Wright would also become an option to eventually assume Manu Ginobili's role as the primary ball-handler in the second unit, whether that time comes in 2015-16 or 2016-17. Wright can create off the dribble, and he's easily more explosive than Joseph.

Lastly, like Joseph, Wright's best attribute is defense. The Bob Cousy Award winner nabbed 2.1 steals per outing, showcasing excellent anticipation and stingy on-ball coverage. He also blocked 77 shots in two seasons at Utah.

"He's as good of a defender as I've seen," an NBA scout said to Bleacher Report's Jason King. "He'll guard the ball, he'll guard off the ball, he's quick, he anticipates, he's got good hands."

Should San Antonio land Wright in the first round on June 25, he'd make Joseph expendable before the June 30 restricted free agency deadline for qualifying offers.

 

Chris McCullough, Power Forward, Syracuse

Nov 25, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Chris McCullough (5) dribbles the ball up the court against the Loyola (Md) Greyhounds during the second half at the Carrier Dome.  Syracuse defeated Loyola 70-37.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse product will probably still be around at San Antonio's selection, since an ACL injury sidelined Chris McCullough for the final two months of the 2014-15 season.

McCullough could hardly have amassed a hotter start to his freshman campaign, tallying 14.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.9 steals over the opening eight contests. He featured an affinity for finishing at the rim, showed a decent jumper and displayed defensive prowess.

But during McCullough's final eight outings before injury, he shot 26.5 percent from the field, recording zero field goals or just one in a stunning seven games. The 6'10" power forward trudged to a 4.3-point, 5.0-rebound average, though he still managed 1.8 blocks and 1.5 steals.

His decision to turn pro was curious, but the 20-year-old would be a developmental prospect whether or not he returned to Syracuse. Neither McCullough's talent nor 7'3" wingspan will go overlooked, and he'll absolutely be drafted in June.

The Spurs have the coaching staff to progress him properly, while the second-unit tandem of Boris Diaw and Aron Baynes—assuming San Antonio re-signs the latter—would give McCullough a much-needed year or two to improve out of the spotlight.

 

Sam Dekker, Small Forward, Wisconsin

Selecting a non-international prospect flouts San Antonio's preference or trend, excluding a value pick of UCLA's Kyle Anderson at No. 30 last year. But like Wright and McCullough, the Spurs have options in the States.

They're also in desperate need of a backup small forward, and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker would be a tremendous fit on Gregg Popovich's team.

Dekker's best assets are a combination of basketball IQ and defensive versatility. He makes tremendous back-cuts, is a heady passer, can guard multiple positions and can knock down mid-range jumpers.

The 6'9" wing isn't a slasher by any means, but he's a capable ball-handler, physical at the rim and finishes well despite taking contact.

The problem is that Dekker may have played himself out of the Spurs' range because of a late-season explosion from three-point range. Through the first five games of the NCAA tournament, he tallied 20.6 points on a 61.3 percent mark from the field, drilling 15 of his 30 attempts beyond the arc.

Excluding that hot tourney stretch, Dekker was just 33.6 percent from deep. But that might not change the possibility that teams, such as the Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards, gamble on the small forward at No. 16 or No. 19, respectively.

His ceiling is probably a seventh or eighth man, but on the Spurs, that's perfect. Dekker would play behind the franchise's evolving star in Kawhi Leonard, and Engelland could fix Dekker's inconsistent three-point stroke—just like Engelland has done with Leonard.

If Dekker slides to San Antonio, it absolutely must snatch him.

 

Unless otherwise noted, stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and are accurate as of April 22.

Follow Bleacher Report NBA writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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