A comprehensive analysis of the Spurs offseason

How well do you think the Spurs did on draft night when they got Stephon Castle, Juan Nuñez, Harrison Ingram and a first and swap from the Timberwolves?

Marilyn Dubinski: I definitely saw the Castle pick coming and am happy with what we’ve seen from him so far in SL, so nothing to complain about there. I wasn’t as upset about them trading the 8th pick as some others, just because the Spurs already have 5 players on rookie contracts (including Castle) with 2-4 first-round picks in next year’s much bigger draft. Nunez was a smart pick if only because he’s good to hoard and his passing is intriguing (though I didn’t understand why they traded down a spot to get him), and Ingram is a good late catch who will likely get a two-way contract.

Mark Barrington: I’m just an unfrozen caveman basketball writer and I was a little concerned about the eighth pick trade. I understand the long-term benefits, but complicated plans like a pick swap seven years in the future scare me and I don’t understand them. I’m really happy with the Castle pick and I think Ingram is an interesting second-round project. I’m going to believe Nunez isn’t a draft-and-stash the day he shows up at training camp. All things considered, the short term has been good, but what happens in 2030 and 2031 is beyond my imagination.

Jesus Gomez: I was excited about the Spurs’ draft. Zaccharie Risacher and Reed Sheppard would have been better fits, but I liked Castle throughout the draft because of his potential on defense and offense. Will he be a full-time point guard in the future? Who knows, but he’ll help no matter what position. Trading the pick made a lot of sense for a team with so many young players that is gearing up to bring in some veterans. The future comes first and the trade will give San Antonio trade opportunities or a valuable way to get high-level talent cheaply when Victor Wembanyama is in his prime if the Timberwolves struggle. Nuñez was a good option as a good Barcelona team wanted him, and Ingram is a promising 3-and-D candidate, so there’s not much to complain about.

JR Wilco: The biggest complaint I’ve heard about draft night is the trading of the eighth pick, so I’ll stop there because I was disappointed at first – it felt like giving up. Here’s what I found to be a satisfying logical progression. In a draft like this year’s, where there are so many unknowns, the difficulty level of a normally tense situation practically triples. We know stars are going to come out of this draft because it does every year. And when you have a ton of guys on the board, but the evaluation metrics don’t favor any of them, then it’s impossible to know which of them are going to be the guys that the amateur GMs can point to years later and say, “Look who they picked when that guy was still on the board.” Given that Wright and the Spurs’ brain trust didn’t have anyone they absolutely had to take, the alternative to trading the pick is taking a player whose chances they weren’t confident about. Since another Luka Samanic situation would be both heartbreaking and limiting to the roster (due to all the future picks the club has), I’ve come to terms with it.

How well do you think the Spurs did in free agency by using their salary cap to sign Chris Paul and Harrison Barnes?

Dubinsky: That’s certainly more than I expected. We’ve talked about the need for veterans, but part of me wouldn’t have been surprised if the Spurs were primarily playing back. My first thought on Paul was that I respect him as a player but always hated his attitude on the court, but over time I’ve grown more respectful of the signing, both as a sign of acceptance and knowing he will bring a lot of positives. He and Barnes will bring quality leadership while filling some gaping holes on the roster (playmaking and shooting) while the Spurs avoided mortgaging their future, so it ended up being a better offseason than I expected.

Barrington: The ultimate goal is to build an NBA title contender. Due to time constraints, none of these guys would be part of a competitive San Antonio team, but I think they bring the team closer to that goal by providing leadership and mentorship as it transforms from a chaotic tanking wreck to a competitive squad. The team will be better this season, but the most important thing is for the young guys to learn how to win at basketball from experienced players.

Gomez: Spurs have made it clear they are not skipping steps in their rebuild, but after last season it became clear they needed a competent playmaker and a shooter who could also defend to have a meaningful squad. Running it back was unacceptable and impractical as Wemby would have made it hard to lose. Even someone like me, who has hated Chris Paul with a burning passion for over a decade, has to accept that signing him on such a good contract is a good move. Barnes was one of the big forwards I thought Spurs should be keeping an eye on this offseason, along with Tobias Harris and Bojan Bogdanovic, so I think he fits. And this trade is just the icing on the cake.

Wilco: I love the new additions. I love their fit. I love their game knowledge and mentorship. I love the shortness of their contracts and their tradeability. But most of all, I love the fact that for the first time in forever, the team has a starting lineup (Paul, Vassell, Sochan, Barnes, Wemby) that looks like a real starting lineup for a real NBA team without having to squint or try to put lipstick on a pig. And all of the above love hasn’t captured Paul’s status as the best point guard since entering the league, which means imagining him doing PnRs with Wemby is my new favorite summer pastime.

The Spurs still have the space exception. Who do you think they should use it on?

Dubinsky: Sandro Mamukelashvili. He earned the opportunity in the few opportunities he got and by the end of the season he showed incredible chemistry with Wemby. I wouldn’t mind a rotation of Tre Jones, Stephon Castle, Keldon Johnson, Mamu and Zach Collins on the bench. That would be a strong second unit and much more reliable than last year’s bench.

Barrington: I think it will be used mainly to bring back players they had to let go of to sign Barnes and Paul. So, welcome back Mamu. Maybe Barlow and Bassey too. Spurs might bring in a few players from other teams that they let go of, but I think re-signing players who already know the system will take priority.

Gomez: The Spurs need a third center, but there is no exception worth the spot. My first choice would have been Paul Reed, but the Pistons claimed him off waivers before he hit the market. The others who could be useful, like Omer Yurtseven and Bismack Biyombo, are on minimum contracts, so I can imagine the front office not taking full advantage of this opportunity and taking advantage of the rule change that allows exceptions to acquire players through trades to get someone they want or to take on part of the salary for a draft pick during the season.

Wilco: It must be Mamu, right?