With the 28th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected forward Livio Jean-Charles from France.
The pick may have left some Spurs fans scratching their heads but recall the team did pick another Frenchman at the same spot many years ago and Tony Parker turned out to be a draft day steal. Something the team is hoping Livio will turn out to be once he makes his way to the NBA.
Upon hearing his name called by NBA Commission David Stern, Jean-Charles spoke with French site L'est-Eclair about how thrilled he is to be part of the Spurs family.
"Already, the day was very stressful. I could not let it go. And then at night, when David Stern (head of the NBA) said my name, it was a relief, I finally smiled. It is not so much that my career was at stake, since going undrafted would not stop my development in Europe. For me it is more the fulfillment of a dream."
As mentioned, Jean-Charles and Parker both were selected at No. 28 and they also share another commonality, they both played for French squad Asvel during the recent NBA lockout. It is their time together is where Livio feels Parker learned more about his abilities which may have helped him get a recommendation from No. 9.
The manager general, RC Buford, had to ask him (Parker) about me in relation to my development and he probably gave a favorable response. During the last lockout (2011), when he returned to France, Tony was able to see how I played. But the front office of the Spurs, too, went to Asvel games, without forgetting the Hoop Summit, which was in my opinion the trigger.
For now, Jean-Charles and the Spurs will now take a wait-and-see approach as to when he will come to the NBA. His agent recently said it could be 1-2 years before his client puts on the Spurs jersey. However, Livio knows the NBA is still some time away and understands he needs to prove himself now.
My time in the NBA will also depend on what I will achieve in the coming months. Being with Asvel is just a huge advantage because there are close links between the two entities (Spurs and Asvel). I want to have what it takes to go to the NBA and for that I have to gain more weight, get more in the rotations, have bigger impact (he turned to 3.4 pts average in the regular season 2.8 in playoffs). After that, there is a difference between saying and doing what it takes.