SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft: The Spurs select Jalen Duren with the 9th pick

The 2022 NBA draft is just three days away, and while the San Antonio Spurs have been confirmed to have met with at least 50 players ahead of the big day, we’re no closer to extrapolating who they might pick with any of their players four picks this year.

Rumors continue to circulate that PATFO is considering moving up within the top 5 in this class or consolidating assets to get closer to the end of the lottery. With the 9th, 20th, 25th, and 38th picks, the good guys are in a prime position to make a move.

For the second summer in a row, I’ve had the pleasure of teaming up with a handful of SB Nation’s brightest basketball minds for the annual Blogger mock draft. So I donned my GM cap and did my best to navigate a tradeless landscape to improve this list.

Here’s how the draft played out before Spurs were on the clock:

  1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith Jr.

  2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren

  3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero

  4. Sacramento Kings: Jaden Ivey

  5. Detroit Pistons: Bennedict Mathurin

  6. Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray

  7. Portland Trailblazer: Dyson Daniels

  8. New Orleans Pelicans: Shaedon Sharpe

With the ninth overall pick of the 2022 SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft, the San Antonio Spurs started with Jalen Duren from the University of Memphis. The 18-year-old center is the youngest player in this class, with an abundance of measurable factors that should have front offices dreaming about what kind of force he can become if the fundamentals develop in such a way that these tools line will be maximized in a few years.

Duren is a bit of a raw prospect. Though he should be useful as a lob target, rim protector, traditional rollman, and transition finisher thanks to quick feet, vertical explosiveness, and a reported seven to five wingspan. The 250-pound man also flashed short roll passing chops that highlighted his awareness and gravity on the screens. Before we get too carried away, this ability is a work in progress.

Despite an inconsistent freshman campaign, the young defender deserves the benefit of the doubt considering he operated in a less than ideal context with few natural playmakers and modest ground clearance. Spurs add structure to majors in a proven development system. He offers them elite frontcourt talent, something they haven’t been able to draft in the last two decades.

If you would like to see every selection from the SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft, Click here.

And be sure to check out all of Pounding the Rock’s 2022 NBA draft Cover.

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