We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com.
With the Spurs slowly declining due to their aging stars, will it be better for them to miss the playoffs and get a chance to draft a blue chip player?– Greg Dizon
The Spurs need to start preparing for the future, especially if they can’t reach an extension with Kawhi Leonard this summer, but it’s too late to count on any lottery help. Even if they go into a tailspin, the best they can realistically hope for is the 13th or 14th pick, which rarely brings a franchise-changing talent. The roster is heavily stocked with over-30 players and will have to be reconstructed at some point, but LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and even 40-year-old Manu Ginobili are all signed through next season. Rudy Gay and Danny Green both have player options, so most of the veteran corps will stick together for at least another year. San Antonio is better off testing its luck in the playoffs than the lottery.
Washington may try to trade one of them this summer for cap relief, but it’s going to be a long time before the franchise can be a major bidder in free agency. The huge deals it handed out to John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter will tie up nearly all of the team’s cap room for the next two seasons — three if Porter opts in for nearly $28.5MM in 2020/21. The Wizards will be filling their roster with low-cost options for the foreseeable future and won’t be able to sign anyone of the caliber of Gortat or Mahinmi if they are dealt away. Any improvements they make won’t come on the free agent market.
Scouts like to see how players perform in high-pressure situations, but the results of the games won’t carry much weight come draft time. NBA teams have been watching these college stars all season and they know what they’re capable of. Their performance at the combine, individual interviews with teams and the upcoming workouts will play a much larger role in determining who gets drafted where. Teams would prefer to see a long tournament run, particularly in the case of Porter, who barely played this season because of a back injury, but the NCAAs will be a distant memory by draft day.