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Commentary: Time to prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft

The San Antonio Spurs will, most likely, have its highest draft selection since Tim Duncan in 1997.

SAN ANTONIO — We have no idea what's going to happen to the NBA season, but we are all convinced, at this point, even if play does resume, San Antonio will not make a run towards the postseason.

So you know what that means -- let's talk a little Spurs draft coverage! 

The organization will almost certainly have its highest selection in two-plus decades and we cannot analyze the present without looking at the past first.

In the draft lottery era, which dates back to 1985, the Spurs have had a top-14 pick only six times. As you can see below, you are grabbing a different caliber of talent when you select someone inside the top-5 versus someone in the 10-to-14 range.

Credit: KENS 5
The San Antonio Spurs have selected in the Top-14, six times during the NBA Draft lottery era.

If the season ended today, and assuming San Antonio's slim chances at a top-3 pick don't come to fruition, the Spurs would draft at No. 11.

Even if the Spurs were fortunate enough to somehow land a top-3 pick -- there is no Tim Duncan. There is no David Robinson. There is no Sean Elliott.

When the waters are murky at the top, just imagine what it's like at 11?

I talked with NBA draft reporter Sam Vecenie of the Athletic about this topic.

"I'll just note at the top and say this is a pretty weak draft class, especially through the lottery," Vecenie said. "The Spurs do a pretty good job of identifying talent, but I think it's going to be a tough year where we see quite a few guys busting out of the league because a lot of these guys are high-ceiling, low-floor types."

Translation: Whether the Spurs were drafting 1 or 11, there is no safe pick.

Now, if the Spurs get a top-3 pick, a lot of fans are falling in love with the idea of Israeli prospect Deni Avdija. Guys from overseas get a lot of buzz, the Spurs have snagged a couple of Hall of Famers this way, but again temper expectations. 

"Yeah, I certainly don't think he's anything like a Luka Doncic was," Vecenie said. "I don't think he's anything resembling what more of the elite European players we've seen in recent years. He's a very good European prospect though that I think profiles as a solid starter at the next level."

Again, Vecenie likes Deni -- he's just not a sure-fire stud...

I asked Vecenie about guys he personally likes a lot -- he mentinoed these three...Obi Toppin out of Dayton -- argubably the best player in college basketball, International point guard Killian Hayes and Dallas native Tyrese Maxey out of Kentucky.

Looking at some NBA mock drafts, there's some other players emerging next to the Spurs name:

- Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton

- Shooting guard R.J. Hampton (a former 5-star recruit who turned pro and played a season in New Zealand)

- Small forward Isaac Okoro out of Auburn

- Power forward Onyeka Okongwu out of USC

As you can see, four players with four distinctly different positions. We have no idea what the Spurs will do.

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"I don't know if (the Spurs) look a ton at positional fit and with the way this roster is, I don't know they should right now," Vecenie added. "I know they've selected a lot of players at the guard position in recent years, but if you can get a guard in there that can be a high-feel guard who can really shoot it, there's no reason to think you can't play...this new draft pick, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV on the court together."

And just to put the cherry on top of all this draft uncertainty, because of the Coronavirus, the pre-draft workouts are going to be severely limited. That means evaluations will be predicated on information gathered by scouts before this month, game-tape, and video conference interviews.

To read more from Sam Vecenie check out his latest mock draft here on The Athletic.

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