European Spurs: Where Are They Now?

“Draft and stash” has been the name of the game for the Spurs in the NBA Draft for the past decade. But we don’t hear much about these players after they are drafted and we often wonder if they will ever wear the silver & black.

The Spurs currently hold the rights to 5 foreign players. We’ll skip over Nando De Colo, as he was just drafted and we’ve had some good looks at him. Let’s take a closer look at some of the other Spurs overseas players.

Robertas Javtokas

This 29 year old, 6’11”, 270 pound Lithuanian center was looking good, then he wrecked his motorcycle and spent a year wondering if he would walk again. After lots of rehab he’s back, and once again looking good. Draft Express ranks him at #27 on their list of players with held NBA rights.

In the 2009 Eurocup he averaged 12 points, 6 boards, and just short of a block in 30 minutes. Reports indicate he is an excellent defender, especially after his performance against NBA veterans in the Olympics. He isn’t getting any younger though, so if he doesn’t come over in 2010 or 2011, we probably won’t see him in a Spurs jersey.

Sergei Karaulov

Sergei stands at 7’1″, 232 pounds, and is only 27. San Antonio dug him up with the 57th pick in the 2004 draft.

I’m not sure if he is even still playing. He was in the Russian Superleague, but I can’t find any stats after 2008, when he averaged 4 points and 3 boards in 12 minutes. I wouldn’t expect to see him play for the Toros, much less the Spurs.

Tiago SplitterTiago Splitter

Everybody’s favorite MIA Spur, Splitter comes in at 7′, 245 pounds, and is still just 24. The Brazilian wonder continues to tear it up in Europe, ranking second on the Draft Express NBA rights list.

It’s well established that T-Split can play, we don’t need to rehash that any more, so I’ll leave you with this tidbit.

…a First Round Pick who does not sign with the Team that holds his draft rights for any portion of the three (3) Seasons following the NBA Draft in which he was selected (and who did not play intercollegiate basketball during such period) may enter into either (a) a Rookie Scale Contract in accordance with Section 1 above, or (b) if the Team has Room in excess of the applicable first-year Rookie Scale Amount, a Contract covering no fewer than three (3) Seasons that provides for Salary plus Unlikely Bonuses in the first Salary Cap Year up to the amount of the Team’s Room and increases or decreases in Salary and Unlikely Bonuses in subsequent Salary Cap Years in accordance with Article VII, Section 5(c)(1).

Yeah, San Antonio can pay him more than the rookie scale, in 2010. I would expect to see him soon.

Viktor Sanikidze

At 6’8″, 215 pounds, this 23 year old could be in our conversation for awhile. He has a lot of room for improvement, but with a changing roster, the door is open.

Averaging 8 points and 4 boards during 19 minutes of play in the 2009 Eurocup, the need for improvement is obvious. The potential is there, but he’ll need to bulk up to compete with NBA forwards. I think we’ll be seeing him in a few years, but he’ll probably bounce back and forth from San Antonio to Austin.