The San Antonio Spurs are amongst the most respected and successful franchises in the NBA. However, if you judge success by titles, you most definitely will miss out on the greatness of the Spurs.

If you are a Spurs fan, then you know that it is probably a wise decision to head on over to right now and get prepared for the season. What makes the Spurs stand out is consistency in success, always appearing in the thin film of teams that stand out in the league year in and year out. Starting with the head coach, the Spurs have managed to stay out of the media eye for all the wrong reasons and continuously deliver satisfaction to their fanbase, even in the years when they fall short of lofty expectations. 

Gregg Popovich and the front office have only themselves to thank and also the oversight of other teams for this storied success, which in many ways has come from what purists will call the “right way” to win, the draft and development. Very few NBA teams can boast of finding sustained success and joy through the draft, and even fewer teams can say they have earned their glory on the back of those choices and development, especially if they happen to constantly fall outside the lottery picks. Since drafting David Robinson number one overall in 1987, Willie Anderson, tenth in 1988, Sean Elliot, third in 1989, and Tim Duncan, first in 1997, the closest the Spurs have come to the lottery or top ten is Devin Vassell, with the eleventh pick in the 2020 draft. If we go by draft numbers, the Spurs have obviously had a lot of success to not fall in the lottery, but all that success has come from making good use of their draft picks and their development team. The Spurs won five championships with Duncan, who also ended up a two-time MVP of the league, ROY in 1997, and a superstar for all his years in the league. Duncan has not been the only cog in the well-oiled machine, though. The Spurs have selected several NBA standouts such as; 

1999 – Manu Ginobili – Round 2, 57th

2001 – Tony Parker – Round 1, 28th

2002 – Luis Scola – Round 2, 55th

2003 – Leandro Barbosa – Round 1, 28th

2005 – Ian Mahimi – Round 1, 28th

2007 – Tiago Splitter – Round 1, 28th

2008 – Goran Dragic – Round 2, 45th 

2008 – George Hill – Round 1, 26th

2011 – Kawhi Leonard (via Indiana Pacers) – Round 1, 15th

2016 – Dejounte Murray – Round 1, 29th

In the last ten years, the Spurs have fallen into the top 20 of the draft only three times, not counting the draft for this year where they are slotted in at number 12, despite an abysmal season by Spurs standards in which they failed to make the playoffs. 

This year’s draft is not expected to have much talent outside the top four, but the same vibe was passed around last year. The class has turned out to be one of the most NBA-ready in recent years, and coupled with how great the Spurs scouting team and development team is, it is safe to say they might just come up with another diamond in the rough again, making lemonade of their lemons.