While the San Antonio Spurs are deep into their rebuild, they don’t quite have the assets to be able to pry a valuable lottery pick from the Blazers in a draft class like this. Instead, the team can take more of a step forward in its rebuild while keeping its best young prospects and adding at a position of need.
Giving Simons the freedom to run the offense with Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, and Malaki Branham could give San Antonio a great future core of young guards and wings to lead them to the playoffs in a few years. Nurkic could slot in nicely as the veteran tone-setter who also fills a massive hole in the middle for the Spurs.
In exchange, the Blazers would get a young wing with real upside and current production in Keldon Johnson. Johnson showed enough creation with the ball in his hands, shot-making ability, and dogged defending to be a perfect co-star for Lillard.
If he develops enough, he may even be a fringe all-star if the Blazers are a top title contender.
Role players like Devonte’ Graham and Zach Collins fill some of Portland’s other holes as well, as bringing Collins back now that he is healthy gives the team a stout center to build its defense around. Graham’s bench scoring could solidify the back of the rotation for the Blazers and help them put together a team that might just be able to contend around Dame.