If you ask any basketball enthusiast which franchises in the NBA are the most historic most of them will answer with one of the two; the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics. Both teams have multiple championships to their names and some of the greatest names in basketball have dawned their respective colors. The San Antonio Spurs have a bit of work to do but they are on their way to joining the Lakers and Celtics in the upper echelon of the league. All of the success they've achieved over the years can be attributed to the front office that surrounds itself with the right players and coaches best fit to win championships. General manager R.C. Buford has been a part of the Spurs organization since 2002 and the team hasn't looked back since bringing him on board.
Why would anyone think of swapping him out for another manager when the team has won four titles with him manning the ship? He is now the second longest tenured GM in the league behind Pat Riley. If that doesn't define success than I don't know what does. The team experienced success before Buford was brought into office but a majority of it has come with him doing the work behind the scenes. It's hard to argue with 18 consecutive seasons with 50 or more wins. None of this would have happened if San Antonio wasn't smart with their draft picks. While many of the players they've taken on draft night have become synonymous with the Spurs, some have become things of the past with nothing left to show for their time in the great state of Texas. Here are the players who will forever be associated with the Spurs and those who have been forgotten at this point.
15 Best: DeJuan Blair
Here's one of the hidden gems in the 2009 draft. DeJuan Blair is mostly known for not having any ACLs which makes it even more impressive that he made to the the premiere basketball organization despite the limitation. Blair was drafted by San Antonio with the 37th pick and wasted no time in contributing in his rookie season. He averaged 7.8 points per game on 55 percent shooting from the field during his first year. Not bad for a player taken so late in the draft. The production from Blair continued to rise from season to season but the additions of Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter cut into the his playing time.
14 Worst: Dwayne Schintzius
Dwayne Schintzius had one of the best mullets during the '90s. His hair was on point but his basketball game wasn't. Taken with the 24th overall pick in the 1990 draft, Schintzius had his problems off the court before entering the NBA. San Antonio took a chance with the center and hoped that known of those issues during his college years wouldn't come back up. While his behavior was fine Schintzius's production on the court was more than forgettable. He played just one season for the Spurs averaging 3.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game and Five teams gave him a chance before he made the decision to retire in 1999.
13 Best: Beno Udrih
12 Worst: Luis Scola
11 Best: Tiago Splitter
10 Worst: James Anderson
Taken with the 20th pick in the 2010 draft James Anderson was the highest draft pick since Tim Duncan was selected in 1997 with the 1st overall pick. The move caused excitement for the organization and its fans; too bad Anderson never panned out. The guard who drew comparisons to Michael Finley had sub-par ball handling skills and was too inconsistent to obtain a permanent spot in Gregg Popovich's rotation. This draft wasn't the deepest but there were players such as Quincy Pondexter and Jordan Crawford who could have made a bigger impact than Anderson.
9 Best: Sean Elliott
Sean Elliott was one of the most reliable small forwards in the NBA during his professional basketball days. His jumper was lethal as he could knock down a shot from mid range or behind the arc with relative ease. It's exactly what a team needs to space the floor to create opportunities not just for himself but for the rest of his teammates as well. Other then one season with the Detroit Pistons, Elliott spent his entire 12-year career with San Antonio and is one of the most beloved Spurs of all time. The two-time All-star was a perfect sidekick for David Robinson as the two made several deep playoffs which included a championship in 1999.
8 Worst: Livio Jean-Charles
7 Best: Manu Ginóbili
If you're compiling a list of the best sixth men in NBA history there's no way your list can omit Manu Ginóbili. While he could easily have been in the starting lineup during his early years with the Spurs, Ginóbili was used in a reserve role in Popovich's rotation and it clearly paid off since he's been providing instant offense off the bench for 15 years. He's been inserted into the starting lineup on certain occasions but when his career is all said and done he will without a doubt be remembered for being one of the greatest sixth men to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. With four NBA titles and two All-Star selections under his belt Ginóbili is one the best international player the league has ever seen right next to Dirk Nowitzki and Hakeem Olajuwon.
6 Worst: Leon Smith
5 Best: Tony Parker
4 Worst: Wiley Peck
Averaging a double-double in college is always going to catch the eyes of scouts looking for the best talent. Willy Peck was one of those players with those credentials at Mississippi State and he entered the 1979 draft with high expectations. Peck never lived up to the hype surrounding him and lasted just one season in the league. In that one season he averaged 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12 minutes of play. He appeared in 52 games for San Antonio before being sent off to the Dallas Mavericks in the 1980 expansion draft.
3 Best: David Robinson
Anyone that was a member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team is regarded as being one of the best players the NBA has ever seen (except for Christian Laettner). David Robinson was on that team and is regarded as one of the best two-way centers to set foot on a basketball court. After joining the Navy and playing for the Navy Midshipmen men's basketball team, Robinson entered the NBA Draft in 1987 and was selected by San Antonio with the 1st overall pick of the night. With astounding career averages of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game Robinson was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2009 and is synonymous with the Spurs to this day as he spent all of his 14 years in the NBA with them.
2 Worst: Alfredrick Hughes
Alfredrick Hughes was a star player coming out of Chicago back in 1985. The shooting guard from Loyola was taken with the 14th overall pick in that year's draft but was never able to replicate the success he experienced during his collegiate playing days. As a rookie Hughes averaged 5.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12 minutes per game. This would be his lone season in the NBA as the Spurs waived him in 1986. His professional career carried over to Italy and Canada but he never achieved much outside of the United States. Stints in the World Basketball League, Global Basketball Association and Continental Basketball Association occurred before Hughes retired in 1994. Joe Dumars and Terry Porter were both up for grabs but the Spurs made the mistake of going with Hughes instead.
1 Best: Tim Duncan
There is no one in the game of basketball that has ever used the glass as effectively as Tim Duncan. Where do we ever start with The Big Fundamental? Lets look at his endless list of accomplisments: five-time NBA Champion, three-time Finals MVP, two-time NBA MVP, and fifteen-time All-Star. Unreal. Duncan isn't just one of the best power forwards, he might be THE best power forward of all time. I can't imagine what was going through the minds of the rest of the teams in the league when they found out that him and David Robinson would be playing on the same team. When you think of twin-tower duos you think of these two.
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are good but they have nothing on the Spurs legends that have 25 All-Star selections between the two. While Robinson may have averaged a few more points and blocks than Duncan when it was all said and done, Duncan has more championship hardware to showoff his hard work and efforts. While LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol have filled in nicely for him, the Spurs just don't look the same without Duncan on the floor. They're still one of the best teams in the league but the Hall of Famer made it clear that no one will ever be better than him at the four and five spots for the San Antonio Spurs.
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