Mock Draft has Spurs reaching for elite rim-protector at 25

There’s a new name to enter into your San Antonio Spurs NBA Draft cheat sheets.

With so many picks in the upcoming draft, several names have been frequently mocked to the Alamo City. Guys like Jalen Duren, Tari Eason, Dyson Daniels, Johnny Davis, and Nikola Jovic have been linked to the Spurs throughout various points in the draft for different reasons.

In a mock draft for Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, Zak Hanshew offered a new choice for the Spurs to take with their late 1st round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft: 7-foot Arizona center Christian Koloko. Suggesting they take him with the 25th pick, he states the addition of the 22-year-old would add important big-man depth behind starting center Jakob Poeltl.

Besides making Sean Elliott happy, there would be some real perks to adding someone of Koloko’s talents to the roster. Boasting a 7’5 wingspan that was second to only Mark Williams at the recent NBA Draft Combine, he was one of the best rim-protectors in the country this season, averaging 2.8 blocks per game over 37 games played.

Perhaps more pertinent to what the Spurs really need, he also seems to do well when he’s forced to guard smaller guys — something all of the team’s current bigs struggle with.

From his vertical leap to lane agility, Koloko was all over the leaderboards in Combine stats, showing he definitely has an NBA-ready body and outlook. His athleticism was on full display as he averaged 12.6 points and 7.3 rebounds on 63.5% shooting for the Wildcats.

With all that said, the Spurs wouldn’t be getting the floor-spacing big they desperately need this summer in Koloko. He doesn’t shoot threes — instead getting his buckets down low with power and hustle.

That could be ok, though, if San Antonio can find another spacing big via free agency or by other means. Christian’s meager free throw shooting in his first two college seasons could hint at a jump shot likely never developing, but he increased that percentage from 48.8 over those seasons to 73.5 this year.

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I wouldn’t say Koloko is a must draft by any means, especially if the Spurs can snag someone like Mark Williams earlier in the first round. But they could do much worse value with their 25th pick if he’s still on the board by then.

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