Grading San Antonio Spurs' 2013 NBA Draft Decisions

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2013

Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich could have a new teammate and player soon.
Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich could have a new teammate and player soon.Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NBA draft was yet another another solid selection day for the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

Holding the 28th pick in the first round, the Spurs' front office found itself in familiar territory using the draft-and-stash method. San Antonio selected Livio Jean-Charles, a 6'9" forward from France, though he more than likely will not come to the United States for the 2013-14 season.

Then, late in the second round, with the 58th choice, first-team All-Big Ten forward Deshaun Thomas was still on the board. San Antonio snatched the Ohio State product with a great value pick.

Though the 2012 draft was an anomaly, as the Spurs' only pick brought little value to the team, 2013 marked a return to San Antonio's selection savvy.

No. 28: Livio Jean-Charles, SF, France

Kawhi Leonard made great strides during his second NBA season, showing a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds, playing lock-tight defense and making high-percentage shots. Jean-Charles could become a similar type of player as the 19-year-old improves his game.

The best way to describe Jean-Charles' style of play is "garbageman." Jean-Charles makes a concerted effort to grab second-chance points, and those easy buckets are something the Spurs love to collect.

Being versatile is paramount in the NBA, and Jean-Charles can score in the paint and from mid-range, rebound, and play stout defense. Jean-Charles led all players at the Nike Hoop Summit, tallying 27 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and two steals while dominating some of the best high school talent the U.S. has to offer.

Jean-Charles' 7'2" wingspan gives him extraordinary length, and he plays hard on the glass at both ends of the court. He allows few easy buckets at the rim, but his physical size may become an issue in the NBA.

He stands 6'9" but only weighs about 220 pounds, so Jean-Charles must either get bigger or improve his jumper.

If Jean-Charles can take the beating of being a post player, it would allow the Spurs to play "small" without sacrificing rebounding. But if he cannot put on too much more weight and must remain a small forward, Jean-Charles needs to be a more reliable mid-range shooter to replace Leonard.

With that being said, even if it takes a season or two for Jean-Charles to arrive in San Antonio, he and Leonard could soon form a lethal tandem at the forward positions.

Pick Grade: B+

No. 58, Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State

Like Jean-Charles, Deshaun Thomas is another tweener forward. Thomas tallied many minutes and possessions in the post for the Buckeyes, but he could also step outside and drain a few jumpers, too.

Essentially, Thomas is somewhat similar to expiring contract DeJuan Blair with more shooting range. He plays hard in the paint, but at 6'7", Thomas is undersized should he play his collegiate power forward position.

Thomas could, instead, move to small forward and work on becoming a weapon at that spot. He does not play defense exceptionally well because of less-than-stellar foot speed, but he can certainly produce offensively in a limited role.

A big weakness of his, though, is that he's sometimes overly reliant on the three-ball, as evidenced by his 5.6 attempts from distance per game as a junior at Ohio State.

San Antonio's scheme is predicated on playing at a high tempo and utilizing tough defense to create offensive chances in transition. Ultimately, however, Thomas' defensive struggles and lack of quickness could leave him in the NBA Development League or looking for another team.

On a lesser but still serious note, hopefully Thomas has given San Antonio his cell phone number by now after refusing to do so at the combine. Heck, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford still did not have it on draft day.

Do not expect Thomas to play with the Spurs, but do not discount the chance, either. If nothing else, Thomas was a solid pickup near the end of the draft, because he could eventually become a decent role player in San Antonio.

Simply put, Thomas' reward was much, much higher than his risk for the Spurs.

Pick Grade: B-


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