Which Spurs draft pick should benefit the most from G League time?

With the San Antonio Spurs’ three first-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, it’s time we take a look at who should be relegated to the infamous Austin Spurs Transformation Program (ASTP), where alumni like Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker and Josh Primo are from.

Spurs fans know the drill. A Spur is drafted, he spends three-quarters of his first season at Austin learning incredible skills and opportunities he wouldn’t otherwise get at the big club, fans complain. Then the next season rolls around, fans clamoring how good the new guy is and “should have been in San Antonio last year” not realizing he’s at that level because of Austin’s system. It is a story as old as time.

I’m just here to see which (or two or three) Spurs players would help the most by spending time in the ASTP.

Short and sweet – Jeremy Sochan doesn’t belong in Austin. He is too gifted and he plays in a position where the big club needs the most help. Almost all of his skills carry over to the NBA and will be played at a moderate to high level from the start. Simply put, I don’t expect Sochan to spend a night in Austin.

This is where things get a little interesting. On paper, Malaki Branham is somewhere on I-35 between Austin and San Antonio. He has a fantastic skill set which includes great efficiency, solid play and great overall IQ which translates into things like off-ball movement, vision and shot selection.

These are very desirable things in a winger like Branham. Sure, he’s not the most explosive player, nor will he be a sniper in three, but he has what looks like an NBA-ready skill set that could help flesh out the bench in San Antonio. Austin could be a great vacation home for him though, as he has room to grow and develop those weaker areas.

Seems to me like a situation where we see Malaki going back and forth playing minutes off the bench in South Africa while wreaking havoc on the youngsters in Austin from time to time. There’s a chance we’ll never even see him in SA just as much as there’s a chance he’ll never set foot in a G League contest.

Your 2022-2023 Austin Spurs MVP! Just kidding, a bit. Blake Wesley is another odd case. It has incredibly fun highs paired with really low lows. In the Summer League, Wesley shot horribly across the board while posting 17/4/3.6 and recording 1.6 steals per game across 5 competitions.

He has shown incredible perimeter defense at times, real shooting touch, and a very strong athleticism while displaying his weaknesses almost exaggeratedly at times. Although he’s fantastic in the pick and roll, he’s dominant on the left due to a foul that has caused him to block his shots more than almost any player in the Summer League this year.

Wesley was also extremely hot and cold beyond the arc, and while those flashes really got Spurs fans excited, the cold streaks were present and enough to signify that much improvement is needed. Luckily, Austin was built for that kind of guy.

Next. Expectations in 1 sentence of the 20 Spurs on the list. dark

Take a raw talent like Wesley and turn it into something bigger than another program could have. I see Wesley spending a lot of time early in the season in Austin, but having the option to transition later in the season to San Antonio full-time, like Keldon did. Either way, Pop and the front office probably know what they’re doing.

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