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NBA Draft: Who should the San Antonio Spurs take?

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SAN ANTONIO SPURS

28th Overall Pick 

Regular Season Record: 58-24 (2nd/West)

Who should the Spurs draft?

Tony Parker. Manu Ginobili. Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs have found some gems in the NBA Draft, even with late first-round picks and, in Ginobili’s case, a late second round selection.

San Antonio has finished in the top two in the Western Conference each of the past three seasons. But who can they take that will put them over the top?

Here’s a look at the Spurs’ needs, and the players whom they should consider with the 28th pick in the first round.

-A BIG MAN.

The Spurs are somewhat weak in terms of front line depth and could use a solid big man who can give them double-figure minutes every time out. There should be a number of quality options still available by the time San Antonio goes on the clock at pick No. 28.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Kansas

Kansas’ Withey was the National Defensive Player of the Year and would fit right in with San Antonio. (USA Today)

Jeff Withey of Kansas could still be available and would be a good choice for the Spurs. He was the National Defensive Player of the Year last season and finished second in the nation in blocked shots at 3.9 per game.Withey is every bit of 7 feet tall, and uses all of his length on both ends of the floor. He’s got great timing on shots, and often comes up with possession after he blocks a shot, something lost on today’s big men. He’s also a decent athlete for a big man. He is raw offensively, but improved greatly in his time at Kansas and ended up posting 13.7 points per game. He’s also a good free throw shooter (71%).

Steven Adams from Pittsburgh is another solid option. Like Withey, Adams isn’t much of an offensive threat, but he’s athletic and talented defensively. He runs the floor well and is a good rebounder. He’s got more upside than Withey, but Adams is young and may not be able to help the Spurs immediately. Still, he stands to learn a lot from Tim Duncan and could end up being the better choice for the Spurs.

If he slips to 28, Gorgui Dieng  would be a tremendous fit for the Spurs. Dieng is projected to be a late-teens to early 20s selection, but could conceivably fall into San Antonio’s lap at 28.  He is a shot blocking machine, averaging 3.2 per game in 2011-12 and shattering the school’s single-season record. Dieng has only played a few years of organized basketball, so he has no bad habits. His floor spacing and passing skills are incredible for his neophyte status. He was one of the nation’s leaders in field goal percentage (61.2%) as a sophomore and has shot 65-plus percent from the free throw line each of the past two seasons. His major impact comes on the defensive end, where his added bulk makes him hard to move around. His length is outstanding, and he’s got good timing.

-A POINT GUARD.

Though they managed just fine when Tony Parker went down, the Spurs could use a backup point guard to groom for the future and provide some solid minutes of relief.

Erick-Green

Green is a scoring guard who could take some of the pressure off Tony Parker. (Peter Casey/US Presswire)

Virginia Tech’s Erick Green would be a perfect fit for the Spurs at No. 28. He led the nation in scoring last season (25 ppg) and can fill it up from anywhere on the floor. He’s deadly off the dribble, and his mid-range J is terrific. Though he’s 6-4, his frame dictates that he’d be a better fit at the point in the NBA. Green did well with the ball in his hands at Virginia Tech, and can score on step-backs, with hands in his face, and on pull-ups from NBA range. In short, he’s a fantastic shooter. That shooting ability helps other aspects of his game, as it frees him up to make passes (he averaged 4 assists per game). He also grabbed 4 rebounds per contest last season.

Miami’s Shane Larkin should still be around at 28 and is another solid option for the Spurs. Though he’s diminutive at just 5-11, Larkin is a lightning-quick, water bug-like guard who has a tremendous handle and good court vision. He’s got NBA range on his three, and isn’t afraid to take–and bury–big shots. His improvement over the past year was remarkable. Larkin went from a backup who averaged 7.4 points per game on just 36 percent shooting to one of the nation’s best point guards, putting up 14.5 points and 4.6 assists per while shooting 47 percent from the floor. He’s a tremendous floor leader and knows how to run a team.

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