Should the Spurs trade up for another top-ten pick in the 2023 NBA Draft?

Connor Suehs, Contributor

It is safe to say that things look on the up for the San Antonio Spurs.

The five-time NBA Champions have had a difficult last few seasons, with the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldrige all departing. With a record of 22-60, which was their worst season since the 1988-89 campaign, it was a difficult time for Spurs fans to watch their beloved silver and black. One of the few positives from this past season is that the Spurs would get a lottery pick. 

With one of the worst records in the NBA, along with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons, the Spurs had around a 14% chance of claiming the number one spot. On Tuesday, May 16 the Spurs were the lucky team that won the right to draft at the number one selection.

This year in particular is considered to be one of the greatest draft coups in recent memory. This is because of the consensus number one pick, Metropolitans 96 Center Victor Wembanyama, who stands at 7’5 at 19 years old. The French center has connections to the Spurs even before being drafted, as NBA Hall of Famer and Spurs Legend Tony Parker is a part owner of the ballclub. 

Early pictures of Wembanyama also show him repping a Tony Parker Spurs jersey, showing that this whole process may have come full circle. 

With the highly rated draft prospect that some are even claiming to be more hyped than Lebron James looking to be heading to the Alamo City, the future looks extremely bright for the Spurs. 

Many fans are dreaming of all the possibilities of building the team around the young starlet, with Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan in the line to build a youthful core for San Antonio. One of the looming issues Spurs fans bring up is the lack of a starting quality point guard. Many have been calling for a trade for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damien Lillard, but the lack of veteran draft capital will hurt the Spurs in that regard. 

The most likely and easier scenario for San Antonio to complete is to use some of the numerous future draft picks that the Spurs possess to trade up for a top-10 pick.  

To get an idea of how the draft picks lineup, here is a list of the Spurs’ picks from 2023-2025: 

2023 NBA Draft Picks

  • Spurs First-Round Pick (1st)
  • Spurs Second-Round Pick (33rd)
  • Raptors Second-Round Pick (44th)

2024 NBA Draft Picks

  • Spurs First-Round Pick
  • Hornets First-Round Pick (Lottery Protected)
  • Raptors First-Round Pick (Top-Six Protected)
  • Lakers Second-Round Pick
  • Pelicans Second-Round Pick

2025 NBA Draft Picks

  • Spurs First-Round Pick
  • Bulls First-Round Pick (Top-Ten Protected)
  • Hawks First-Round Pick
  • Spurs Second-Round Pick
  • Bulls Second-Round Pick
  • Raptors Second-Round Pick

While trading a 2023 or even a 2024 draft pick looks highly unlikely, it is the picks in 2025 that could be used to the Spurs’ advantage. With teams like Portland and Detroit having high first-round picks in this year’s draft and both organizations willing to do deals, the Spurs could use their array of first-round picks, including the 2025 Bulls’ top-ten protected pick, to good use. They also have plenty of second-round picks over the next three years, but if they were to use any of their 2024 first-round picks, it has been reported that the 2024 Raptors’ top-six protected pick is nearly off-limits. The Hornets’ lottery-protected pick and Spurs’ first-rounder could be moved. 

With all of the future draft capital lining up nicely for San Antonio to potentially trade higher up in this year’s class, we can now go over some of the candidates that the Spurs could potentially trade up for. 

Ausar Thompson 

Position – Shooting guard/Small Forward

Team – Overtime Elite

HT – 6’7” Age – 20

A player that looks more set to be a shooting guard or a small forward, Thompson will be one of the most highly sought-after playmakers in this year’s draft class. Thompson is considered to be a connector of sorts, being able to use his great vision and playmaking ability to find great looks for his teammates. The only concern here is that the Spurs have Keldon Johnson, who already has the two spots locked down. 

Sidy Cissoko

Position – Guard/Small forward

Team – G-League Ignite

HT – 6’8” Age – 19
Another highly touted French prospect, Cissoko is perhaps the best fit for the Spurs out of the guard class this year. The 19-year-old has been stellar with the G-League Ignite this season, and like Ausar Thompson, is a connector. He is considered by many draft prospects to have the highest “floor”, meaning that he is projected to have a consistent NBA career. Cissoko is one of the more underrated players in the class, but could easily gel in a Gregg Popovic system. Keep a close eye on this one. 

Amen Thompson 

Position – Point guard

Team – Overtime Elite

HT – 6’7” Age – 20

For the point guard position, this is probably as good as the Spurs can get in terms of this year’s draft. Amen has the potential to be one of the best point guards in recent history. He is considered to have the highest ceiling in this class and will help conduct a young Spurs offensive led by Wembanyama. If the Spurs do trade up, this is a move that most fans want to see happen.

It remains to be seen what the Spurs will do, but one thing is for certain in that the city of San Antonio is buzzing over a new era with the silver and black.