The first quarter of names on the international Spurs rankings were full of names that many don’t know, with six of the 11 players having played less than 10 games in San Antonio.
The second quarter will feature some more recognizable names from Argentina to France to Slovenia, some of which spent several years playing for the Spurs. The countdown begins with a point guard from a country that has given a lot to the Silver and Black, Argentina.
30. Nicolás Laprovíttola (Argentina) – 3.3 PPG, 1.6 AST
He’s won multiple championships overseas that include back-to-back Brazilian League titles and a Spanish Supercup in 2019, but the NBA career of Nicolás Laprovíttola lasted just 18 games.
The 6-4 point guard was serviceable in his limited time on the court, but he was stuck behind a lineup of Tony Parker, Patty Mills and a rookie upstart named Dejounte Murray.
Laprovíttola’s 11-point night on 3-of-4 from downtown against the LA Clippers was the highlight of his short career, but he was ultimately waived in December 2016.
29. Bobby Croft (Canada) – 7.9 PPG, 4.9 REB
Bobby Croft is an extreme throwback — I’m talking way back to the days of the Texas Chaparrals. The Ontario native showed up in just 29 games for the franchise in 1970-71, but he put up some pretty decent numbers in that span.
Croft’s best individual game came against the Floridians (yes, that’s the team’s name) when he scored 23 points in a losing effort.
28. Ian Mahinmi (France) – 3.8 PPG, 1.8 REB
The San Antonio Spurs surprised everyone when they drafted Mahinmi as the 28th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. Like they had a habit of doing, they picked up the center with the intention of stashing him to develop for use later on.
Mahinmi finally got some minutes in the 2007-08 season but they only added up to 23 over the course of six games. He played 26 games the following season, but his inability to box out properly and tendency for fouling cut his career in San Antonio short.
Mahinmi currently plays for the Washington Wizards, where he’s averaging 7.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
27. Sean Marks (New Zealand) – 3.3 PPG, 2.1 REB
He didn’t make that much noise as a player, but Marks eventually found his calling in the NBA. The big man from Auckland showed up in 23 games for the 2005 championship team and 25 the following season.
Even though he spent time in Phoenix, New Orleans and Portland afterward, Marks found his way back to San Antonio and served as an assistant coach from 2013-2016, winning another title with the team during that stretch.
Marks worked his way up the NBA ladder to become the general manager of the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 until the present day.
26. Nando De Colo (France) – 4.0 PPG, 1.7 AST
One of many Frenchmen on the list, De Colo has been playing professional basketball since 2006 and is still doing so to this day.
Drafted 53rd overall in 2009 by the Spurs, the 6-5 guard/forward didn’t make his NBA debut until the 2012-13 season. De Colo averaged 10.8 points per 36 minutes in his debut season in San Antonio, showing up in five playoff games for the team that made the NBA Finals.
Nando narrowly missed out on a 2014 NBA title, after the Spurs traded him to Toronto for Austin Daye early on that season.
25. Mike Smrek (Canada) – 4.5 PPG, 3.0 REB
Mike Smrek played 43 games for the Spurs in 1988-89, starting in 18 of them. The Canadian didn’t make a ton of noise in the NBA, but he did score in double figures five times in limited minutes in San Antonio.
Smrek had decent numbers for the Spurs, but his career highlight is winning back-to-back titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987 and 1988.
24. Joffrey Lauvergne (France) – 4.1 PPG, 3.1 REB
The French Revolution continues with the third Frenchman on the list, Lauvergne. Playing behind a Pau Gasol past his prime, Lauvergne was a solid rebounder and screen-setter in his 10 minutes per game.
Joffrey’s biggest game for the Silver and Black came in a 2018 loss to the Denver Nuggets, when he shot 12-of-15 to score 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
After 55 games with the Spurs, Lauvergne signed with the Turkish basketball club Fenerbahce, for whom he still plays.
23. Francisco Elson (Netherlands) – 3.7 PPG, 3.5 REB
Signing with the Spurs in July 2006 worked out for both Elson and the team, as he contributed 3.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in that season’s playoffs.
The 2007 playoffs ended with a dominant sweep of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to capture the Spurs’ fourth title — and Elson would get his first and only ring in the NBA.
The Dutch center was traded with Brent Barry in February 2008 to the SuperSonics for Kurt Thomas, eventually retiring from the NBA in 2012.
22. Carl Herrera (Trinidad and Tobago) – 4.8 PPG, 2.9 REB
Herrera is the first player on this list to have spent more than two seasons playing in the Alamo City. After spending four seasons with the Houston Rockets and winning two rings along the way, Herrera joined the Spurs from 1995-98.
Carl’s peak season in San Antonio was the 1996-97 season when he was the starting power forward for 58 games. He averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game that season, but that team was in freefall mode all year with David Robinson injured.
Herrera did his best to hold the fort down before the arrival of Tim Duncan, which is worth a decent spot on the list.
21. Beno Udrih (Slovenia) – 5.2 PPG, 1.8 AST
It’s easy to forget, but Udrih won two NBA titles with the Spurs. Another decent find as the 28th pick in 2004, Beno always did a great job of playing within himself when he got minutes behind Tony Parker.
The 6-3 point guard never averaged more than one turnover per game in his three seasons with the Spurs, which was key in him getting minutes while the stars rested.
Udrih won a title in his rookie season, then another one two years later before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Not a bad way to start your NBA career.
Numbers 20-11 are up next in the series, which will feature sharpshooters, steady big men, and of course, more champions.
You can check out players 41-31 here.