The San Antonio Spurs started to become a juggernaut in the mid-90s. And that’s where we are going to start redrafting in this story. With David Robinson in tow for a few years and of course, one big pick coming in 1997, here’s how the Spurs might have looked if they had picked differently.
For context, remember that the 1994-95 season saw Bob Hill at the coaching helm when the Spurs finished 62-20 and saw the team go 59-23 the next season. However, Robinson’s two separate injuries as well as Sean Elliott’s injury in the 1996-97 season sunk them so they could ultimately draft Tim Duncan in 1997. And unfortunately, we are going to redraft him because that is how this is done so share in my sorrow as we go down this list and rip up a beautiful Spurs team.
Cory Alexander (pick No. 29) – The Spurs could have used another point guard who might have fared a little better than Alexander did so they should have gone with Eric Snow. He lasted quite a long time in the league and was named to a 2nd team All-Defensive squad along with earning the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2000.
The Spurs had two picks that were traded earlier that year as part of deals that involved Dennis Rodman, Sean Elliott, J.R. Reid and others. And it’s unfortunate because this was one of the most epic drafts that the league has ever seen. There was Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal, Peja Stojakovic and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. What could have been!
Tim Duncan (pick No. 1) – The Spurs could have taken anyone with this pick in this draft and of course they made the right pick the first time. However, if they had to redraft and go with someone else the pick could have been Chauncey Billups or Tracy McGrady. For this redraft, I am going with McGrady since the league became about wings who could go out and get their own shots. He would have been exciting, fun and a hell of a player to watch rather than what the Spurs saw at the end of his career.
Felipe Lopez (pick No. 24) – This pick was eventually traded to Toronto, but if it had been kept the Spurs could have taken Rashard Lewis. A stretch big man who could defend at a decent level and was a two-time All-Star. He lasted for quite some time in the league and of course was most known for his time with the Magic where he went got to the Finals (and then won with the Heat a few years later).
Derrick Dial (pick No. 52) – It’s possible that the Spurs could have taken two big men in this draft as Brad Miller somehow went undrafted. The Purdue grad had a career spanning over a decade and also made two All-Star games. He was a decent floor stretcher and solid playmaker as well, averaging almost five assists one season.
Leon Smith (pick No. 29) – This pick was traded to Dallas, but if it had been kept Gordan Giricek might have been a Spur. He was a good outside shooter with wing size standing at 6-foot-7. He played in the league for a little under a decade but did have five seasons averaging double-figure scoring.
Manu Ginobili (pick No. 57) – Ginobili is undoubtedly the greatest sixth man of all-time and possibly the greatest second-round player drafted of all-time. The ONLY good that would come from picking someone else like Chris Andersen would be that we don’t have to hear Rod Thorn butcher Ginobili’s name. And Andersen might have saved himself the embarrassment of a public Tim Duncan beatdown as well. Of course, Andersen would have been a nice big man defender for after Robinson retired as well.