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Dec. 18, 2014 - J.B. Scott

Here's why the Spurs are overrated

Here's why the Spurs are overrated. Let's forget the fact that they just signed Boris Diaw to $7.5MM/year contract and Tiago Splitter is making only about $1MM less than Tim Duncan and almost the same as Paul Millsap. Let's also forget that they signed Richard Jefferson a few years ago to around $40MM when no other teams wanted him and they had to give away a draft pick just to get rid of him. We won't go as far back and talk about when they signed Rasho Nesterovic to a 6-year $45MM deal.

We're going to talk about their draft picks. They are like the Patriots of the draft for the NBA. They got lucky with a few good draft picks and everything else fell into place. So year after year they get a free pass with whoever it is they pick, and when it doesn't work out, people say, well they drafted Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. No one was not going to draft Tim Duncan. He was the best college prospect since Ewing and every team knew he was a franchise saver. Gilbert Arenas was taken 2 picks after Tony Parker. Had Tony Parker went to Atlanta instead, we might be talking about a guy who never came overseas or never got playing time. If Gilbert Arenas went to San Antonio, we might be talking about his Hall of Fame career too. Ginobili was an amazing pick, but that was 15 years ago! It was a shot in the dark with the 2nd to last pick of the draft, figuring they had nothing to lose taking a foreign guy as do all teams that late. Kawhi Leonard has been great, but there was talk that Leonard could go in the top 10, so at 15 they were jumping up for value. Let's also never forgot how good Tim Duncan makes the people around him, especially the influence he has on them early in their careers.

Yet all these years, they've been dreading the day that Tim Duncan retires because they have no real replacement. in 17 years they haven't found a single replacement for Tim Duncan. They claim it's because they've been so good and have drafted too late. Well I'm going to dispute that today. Below is a chart of the players the Spurs could have picked since 2004 and the players they did pick.

Year Could have picked Actual Pick
2004 Anderson Varejao (30) Beno Udrih (28)
2005 David Lee (30) Ian Mahinmi (28)
2006 Paul Millsap (47) Part of trade for Nazr Mohammed (29)
2007 Marc Gasol (48) Tiago Splitter (28), Marcus Williams (33)
2008 Nikola Pekovic (31), DeAndre Jordan (35) George Hill (26)
2009 Danny Green (46) DeJuan Blair (37)
2010 Greivis Vasquez (28) James Anderson (20)
2011 Jimmy Butler (30), Isaiah Thomas (60) Cory Joseph (29), Adam Hanga (59)
2012 Draymond Green (35) Part of trade for Stephen Jackson (30)

Here are other guys they drafted but then traded before they got a chance to play for them:

  • John Salmons (2002)
  • Luis Scola (2002)
  • Leandro Barbosa (2003)

Now imagine this team if they actually drafted well and didn't trade away some of their draft picks after they drafted them. You think they'd still be saying they didn't have a replacement for Duncan if they drafted David Lee, Paul Millsap, and Marc Gasol? I don't think so.

R.C. Buford, you are overrated.