Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 12/4/12
The college basketball season is about a month old, enough time to for draft geeks like me to start looking ahead to June's NBA Draft.  The NBA Draft has always been less fun as a Spurs fan since they've always drafted at or near the end of the first round.  Through the middle part of the last decade the Spurs either traded their draft picks or draft and stashed someone playing in Europe (see: Splitter, Tiago). Five years ago there was sea change starting with drafting George Hill instead of European big guys like Nikola Pecovic and Omer Asik, who both were drafted early in the second round (I'll let you decide how that worked out, I'm cool with it).  The next year DeJuan Blair was drafted early in the second round, then James Anderson, then the trade for Kawhi Leonard.  As their core got older the Spurs draft plans went from help later to help now.  Even last year, the Spurs followed that philosophy by surrendering their first round pick in the Richard Jefferson-Stephen Jackson trade.  Jackson is a better fit than Jefferson and sacrificing the pick was worth it. This season I see no reason why that would be any different.  The Spurs will likely have a pick late in the first round and will use it through trade or for a player they think can help in his first couple of seasons a la George Hill.  Assuming the latter is the case here's a look at some guys to keep an eye through the rest of the college season. Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville - Did anyone see Toronto's Ed Davis and Washington's Kevin Seraphin give the Spurs fits last week.  Well, Dieng is built in that same mold.  At a long 6'11", Dieng is mobile and excels on defense, particularly protecting the rim.  He's having a bit of a down year so far and just suffered a wrist injury that will keep him out 4-6 weeks.  While that hurts his stock, it actually might help the Spurs since there's a better chance of him being there at the end of the first round. Patric Young, C, Florida - Young hasn't developed into a low post scorer many thought he would, but his athleticism and defensive make him hard to pass up at the end of the first round.  In last June's draft, Golden State took Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli (with the Spurs' pick ironically enough) specifically for his size and defense and now he's starting for them while the Warriors wait for Andrew Bogut to get healthy.  Young could do the same thing for a team next year. Andrew Roberson, F, Colorado - I wrote about the San Antonio native in October, saying he was poised for a huge season assuming his offensive game improved.  Through the first month, his offense hasn't really improved.  Right now he's averaging 11.6 points and 11 rebounds a game.  He's still shooting 50 percent from the field, most of those shots coming in the paint.  Still, he hasn't shown an ability to create his own shot which is what scouts were looking for to make him a top 15 or 20 pick.  That matter less to the Spurs than what he can do on defense.  He's able to guard shooting guards, small forwards and even some power forwards.  He averages over a block per game.  If you have him and Kawhi Leonard on the wing together, they could create absolute mayhem.  Plus it'd just be exciting to have a kid from San Antonio playing for the home town team. Brandon Ashley, F, Arizona - The freshman has already moved himself in to the Wildcats starting five.  He's got a lot of Shawn Marion in him.  You're probably thinking the Spurs don't need another 6'8" power forward but the difference between Ashley and Boris Diaw and DeJuan Blair is his athleticism.  He's already had one 20 point, 10 rebound game and is averaging two blocks a game. He's one of three freshman splitting time at the center and power forward positions.  It's entirely possible that he'll declare for the draft if he continues to play well rather than fight for playing time with Grant Jarrett and Kaleb Tarczewski. So you're seeing the pattern, athletic forwards, regardless of height.  Truth is the Spurs have plenty of good to great post defenders.  They need a guy or two to defend the pick and roll provide weakside defense.  All of these four can do that.  Keep an eye on all of them.  We've got a long way to go to June. Photo: RedRaiders.com
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Zach LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Alleged Manning sexual assault cited in Tennessee lawsuit

Arian Foster: It's hard for me to watch football

Isaiah Thomas recruiting players at All-Star weekend

Report: Charles Woodson joining ESPN's Sunday NFL crew

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

Fans want Floyd Mayweather to buy their soccer team

Tennessee shares Valentines-themed photo of packed stadium

NY Post writer takes harsh shot at Jason Pierre-Paul

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker