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27 June 2005

2005 NBA Draft Preview

Ah, the NBA draft. A special time for all NBA fans and especially intriguing for Spurs followers. Buford, Pop and company have shown a knack for finding quality players at all points of the draft. Here are the Spur selections from the past 6 years:

2004
Beno Udrih
Viktor Sanikidze (traded this year 2nd round pick for him)
Romain SAAAAAATO!

2003
Leandrinho Barbosa (traded away)

2002
John Salmons (traded away)
Luis Scola (third to last pick of the draft)
Randy Holcomb (traded away)

2001
Tony Parker (last pick of first round)
Bryan Bracey

2000
Chris Carrawell

1999
Leon Smith
Manu Ginobili (second to last pick)

None of those picks were higher than the 20s. They've been remarkably successful. John Hollinger went back through a bunch of drafts to reorder them; who should have been drafted at the top if we knew then what we know now. Here's what he came up with:

1999 - Ginobili 4th behind Brand, Kirilenko and Marion (and ahead of Francis, Miller and Davis)
2001- Parker 4th behind Gasol, Arenas and Randolph
2002- Luis Scola 10th

That's right. The guy (thanks to Doug for the link) hasn't even played a game in the NBA and Hollinger has him above the likes of Dunleavy Jr. and Darius Songaila. If you read that link above you would know that Skip Bayless said the following about Scola: "Luis Scola almost certainly will be a better NBA player than anyone who will be drafted Tuesday night." Uh. Wow.

Of course Skip Bayless may be a little crazy, going on to say that NBA people had doubts about whether Tim Duncan should be the #1 pick. Uh. Really? Does anyone remember this?

The majority of Spurs fans have heard of him. He's a 6'-8" Argentinian PF who's been playing in Europe for quite some time now. From what I've read he has a well-developed offensive game and is an "energy guy." His team got to the Euro League finals and he was a teammate of Manu's on the gold medal winning team (actually led them in scoring in the gold medal game). The Spurs will likely use part of their MLE to bring him over.

The Spurs get so much respect when it comes to the draft that they could probably draft me and still get a B+. I can picture Jay Bilas now:

"Well, he's a little old at 28. He's also a little short at 5'-10". His weight isn't listed, but he looks a little rotund. He couldn't make his high school team but he has a sweet jumper and is a good rebounder for his height. He'll make an impact."

So what do the Spurs need? Let's take a look at the roster.

PG
Tony Parker
Beno Udrih

SG
The Sickness
Brent Barry

SF
Bruce Bowen

PF
Timmeh!
Robert Horry
Luis Scola

C
The Solid Slovenian
Nazr Mohammed

That's 10 guys. They'll probably bring back Devin Brown (the Spurs have his early Bird rights and I doubt they will have trouble resigning him (if they're interested)). Sean Marks and LJ III would likely be cheap. They obviously have a huge need at 3. They are not deep at that position and Bowen is already 34. LJ III is a 3, but the guy hasn't played regular NBA minutes in well over a year. Devin Brown is only 6'-5". The Sanikidze kid they have stashed over in Europe is a 3, but he's only 19 or 20 and a couple of years away.

Yeah, I know, Glenn Robinson. I'm not sure SA can afford him. Will he sign for 2-3 million a year? I doubt it. And even if he would I'm not sure they Spurs want him.

I've seen the Shareef rumors. First off, he's a 4, not a 3. He cannot guard NBA 3s. Second, he's not coming for less than the full MLE. The Spurs need some of that for Scola. He's their #1 priority from what I understand.

Here's who various mock drafts have the Spurs taking with the 28th pick. For the record, the Spurs traded the last pick of the first round (PHX's) to NY in the Malik Rose trade. They traded their 2nd round pick last year to ATL from The Crown Vik (yeah, I already gave him a nickname).

hoopshype.com- Julius Hodge, 6'-7" SG from NCS
nbadraft.net- Ryan Gomes, 6'-8" SF from Providence
insidehoops.com- Ryan Gomes, 6'-7" SF from Providence (the Spurs should totally draft the taller Ryan Gomes)
probasketball.about.com- Ersan Ilyasova, SF, Turkey
fanball.com- Ersan Ilyasova, SF, Turkey
nbawire.com- Ryan Gomes, 6'-8" SF from Providence
cbs.sportsline.com- Ronny Turiaf, PF, Gonzaga or Francisco Garcia, SG, Louisville or Ryan Gomes
hoopsworld.com- Michael Gelabale, SF, Real Madrid
ESPN.com- Charlie Villanueva, PF, UConn (Chad Ford is on crack; he's the only guy who thinks Villanueva will drop this far)

There's a sampling. Feel free to offer opinions on what the Spurs need and who they should draft. Me? I'm praying Hakim Warrick get's caught with a hooker/marijuana/firearm sometime before the draft. Anything that would drop him about 15-20 spots. He'd be perfect.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.