ESPN report assesses fit of potential draft picks to join Victor Wembanyama

Spurs hold No. 4, No. 8 selections in 2024 NBA Draft beginning June 26 on KSAT, ESPN

FILE - San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) shoots in front of Memphis Grizzlies forward GG Jackson (45) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Memphis, Tenn. Wembanyama has been named NBA Rookie of the Year after a record-setting season. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill, File) (Brandon Dill, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs hold two top 10 selections in the upcoming NBA Draft, and all eyes are on what the organization will do to help shape the roster around franchise cornerstone Victor Wembanyama.

And while there is no consensus top pick this year, there are several players who could potentially help the team moving forward. But as of now, who the team selects is a complete mystery.

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An ESPN report recently dove into several possible selections that the Spurs could choose and took a look at how they each could pair with the team’s star big man.

ESPN picked three players with the possible No. 4 pick and three for the No. 8 selection in the first round. ESPN also looked at six potential second-round picks. Here’s a breakdown on who the report mentioned in the first round.

Reed Sheppard, guard, Kentucky

With the fourth pick in the first round, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony likes the fit with Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard. According to Givony, Sheppard is the best shooter in the draft and thinks it’s imperative the team places shooters around Wembanyama.

“Sheppard has an excellent feel for the game, creating for others, and is a reliable decision maker who makes the game easy for teammates with his patient, unselfish approach,” Givony writes. Sheppard made 52% of his three pointers at Kentucky.

His limitations defensively could also be hidden with Wembanyama patrolling the paint.

Rob Dillingham, guard, Kentucky

Also a potential No. 4 overall selection is Sheppard’s teammate at Kentucky, Rob Dillingham, who is getting plenty of mention as a fit with Wembanyama.

Dillingham is an explosive, dynamic ball handler with a good shot off the dribble and is a creative passer. He would help to create offense for a team that struggled doing so when Wembanyama was off the floor. And like Sheppard, his defensive shortcomings could be masked by Wemby’s strengths.

Kentucky's Rob Dillingham (0) drives against Alabama's Aaron Estrada (55) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp) (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“Dillingham is lightning in a bottle, ranking as one of the scorers in this draft class, already as a freshman,” Givony wrote. “He’s also an underrated passer who has real creativity dishing off a live dribble -- a skill he can continue to hone.”

The article also mentioned that Dillingham has already been campaigning to be selected by the Spurs, going as far as to say at the NBA Draft Combine: “He could be one of the best players ever. If I am playing with Wemby, it’s obvious -- I am coming in to give Wemby the ball.”

Zaccharie Risacher, forward, France

Risacher is the third and final mention with the No. 4 overall pick. Risacher, slated to be in the top 2 of the draft, might require the Spurs to trade up. But should he fall, there’s no question he’d be a logical fit next to Wembanyama.

Risacher, a 6-foot-10 inch forward from France, has been scouted extensively by the Spurs, according to ESPN. Givony said his shooting would “fill an obvious need, and he’d also help the Spurs defensively and with his passing -- an area San Antonio struggled last season.”

The article states that Risacher previously played with Wembanyama in ASVEL in 2021-2022.

Pick No 8: Nikola Topic, guard, Dalton Knecht, forward, Tidjane Salaun, forward

As for the No. 8 overall pick, ESPN named three additional players to know before the draft arrives.

The first is another foreign player who was on the radar for the No. 1 overall pick before injuries derailed him. Guard Nikola Topic likely will have to sit out all of next year recovering from a torn ACL injury. But prior to that, however, he was a prospect believed to be the best in the draft at creating for players and dribbling through defenses.

“Topic has excellent size for a point guard at 6-7 and perhaps the most advanced feel for the game in the draft,” Givonly wrote.

Tennessee prospect Dalton Knecht has a knack for creating shots, both on and off the ball. He was a 40% shooter from 3-point range and can score in a variety of ways, either with the pick and roll, posting up, or coming off screens.

“If the Spurs want to make a push at making the playoffs next season -- drafting a 23-year-old consensus First Team All-American will likely get them closer to that goal than a teenage prospect,” Givony said.

And to that end, lastly, is the exact opposite of Knecht, French forward Tidjane Salaun, the youngest player likely to be selected in the first round.

Salaun, 18, is said to have impressive physical tools, displaying confidence beyond his years.

“The fact that he’s French probably won’t hurt his cause (as) the Spurs look to build a locker room that Wembanyama enjoys being a part of, but Salaun will be a lottery pick regardless,” Givony said.

No matter who the Spurs ultimately chose, the direction of the franchise will become clear as they make their selections. The team has the No. 35 and No. 48 picks in the second round. KSAT 12 is sending a crew and will be reporting from the draft.


About the Author

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.

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