The San Antonio Spurs truly started turning the franchise around in the 1989-90 season when David Robinson was a rookie. It came after a few truly horrific seasons and was the first season of full ownership for Red McCombs. This is when playoff expectations became normal for the team.
If the Spurs made a couple of better picks, they might have found themselves out of the first round more often. That leads us to our re-drafting of the decade, starting with the first half of it (1990-94).
Dwayne Schintzius (pick No. 25) – While this pick gave David Robinson a respectable backup big man, there’s a huge pick in this draft that could have given “The Admiral” even more help as a starter. Toni Kukoč could have been a Spur even if he did come over after three years. Of course, it’s always easy to have 20/20 vision in hindsight as basically no team was drafting and stashing at the time like they started doing in the 2000s.
Tony Massenburg (pick No. 43) – This pick could have been another big man and coincidentally he also played overseas to begin his professional career. However, when Antonio Davis made his way back to the States he did pretty well for himself. Just imagine that bruiser with the Spurs instead of with the Pacers.
Sean Higgins (pick No. 54) – This is a tough replacement as it was the last pick in the draft at the time and there weren’t really any undrafted players who went on to be that much better than this original pick. However, we’ll go with Scott Williams who was a reserve big man for a number of teams including the Bulls during their first three-peat.
Greg Sutton (pick No. 49) – This was a time when the Spurs did not have many good point guards and that’s because the league was dominated by big men. However, Darrell Armstrong went undrafted in this class and really blossomed after he landed in Orlando in 1994. He was part of the “Heart and Hustle” that defied odds to make the playoffs and would have been a fan favorite in San Antonio.
Tracy Murray (pick No. 18) – Murray was an impressive California hooper and would have been a good pick for the Spurs if they had decided to keep him. But they dealt him a week after drafting him and he would go on to lead the league in three-point percentage for a season. Someone to replace him could Latrell Sprewell who could have given the team some extra firepower off the bench (initially).
Henry Williams (pick No. 44) – Williams did not make it to the league, but an undrafted guy who did was David Wesley. He proved scouts wrong when he successfully made the transition to point guard and had a successful 14-year career. He was a good defender and a reliable threat from long-range to boot.
Christ Whitney (pick No. 47) – This might be the easiest re-draft we’ll see this decade as Bruce Bowen was available and even went undrafted in this class. When you have the opportunity to draft a guy who you know will win in the future, you do it. That’s the beauty of retroactively drafting players.
Bill Curley (pick No. 22) – The best replacement pick might have been the one after Curley in Wesley Person. He would go on to play in the NBA for more than a decade. His three-point shooting would have been a huge asset and he could have been a potential microwave kind of player for the Spurs off the bench.