Those hopes were dashed early in the selection process, as the Spurs had to settle for the No. 9 pick. Still, there's plenty to be excited about, as San Antonio now has its first top-10 pick since the legendary selection of Tim Duncan at No. 1 overall in 1997.
ESPN released a post-lottery mock draft following the release of the official draft order and has the Spurs making an interesting selection at No. 9 by taking guard Dyson Daniels of the G League Ignite.
Here's what ESPN had to say about the 19-year-old:
"The Spurs have quite a few young players in the backcourt but are in full-fledged talent-acquisition mode and will be thinking hard about picking the best long-term prospect they can acquire with this pick. Adding a versatile guard who can play in a variety of lineup configurations and do a little bit of everything could be attractive here, especially considering the type of players Gregg Popovich typically values. Daniels is an outstanding defender who fills up the box score with rebounds, assists, blocks and steals, and has plenty of upside to grow into considering he just turned 19 years old."
The 6-6, 199-pound Australian natives stuffed the stat sheet this past season with the G League Ignite. He averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 32 minutes per game in 15 contests.
He would bring a little bit of everything to a Spurs backcourt that could use all the defense it can get. Aside from NBA steals-leader Dejounte Murray, the rest of San Antonio's guards aren't elite defenders and already bring plenty of offensive ability to the floor.
Daniels would bring a nice balance to the backcourt, as he could step in as a steady play-maker in a second unit of Josh Primo, Josh Richardson, and potentially Lonnie Walker, whose return to the team remains a question mark with free agency pending.
Daniels only went 17-49 from 3-point range in the G League last season, which is solid production given he only played in 15 games. But joining a Spurs staff that includes legendary shooting coach Chip Engelland could help him develop into a consistent catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter that has valuable 3-and-D potential.
The NBA Draft is on Thursday, June 23.