The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best franchises in NBA history. The Spurs have captured five NBA championships since 1999, which is the fifth-most in the history of the Association. Coincidentally, these rings were made possible due to the perfect draft picks that the franchise selected in the first two rounds of the event.
Many organizations dream of having the terrific scouting and impeccable decision-making the front office executes when it comes to draft day choices. Going down memory lane has the San Antonio fanbase reminiscing on their top 10 picks during the course of their franchise.
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10. Derrick White
Derrick White was drafted at the tail-end of the first round in the 2017 NBA Draft, so the expectations were not that high for the point guard. White's college is an NCAA Division II school, but he left the doubters shushing when his NBA career began as he made an instant impact on his second year with the Spurs.
White is currently the starting point guard of the Boston Celtics, but he spent the first 4 1/2 years of his career with San Antonio. His trajectory is on the upswing, and there is no doubt that the primary reason is the player development of the Spurs organization.
9. Kevin Duckworth
Kevin Duckworth is an 11-time NBA veteran who is best known for his longer stint with the Portland Trail Blazers. Before being selected to two All-Star selections with the Blazers, Duckworth was drafted in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft, wherein he finished an 11-year NBA career in 1996.
A typical banger and reliable interior scorer was the recipe of success for Duckworth, especially a delightful stretch from 1987-1993. Apart from the two All-Star appearances, Duckworth has a Most Improved Player of the Year award in his accolades.
8. Sean Elliot
A 12-time NBA veteran who was selected third overall in the 1989 NBA Draft is San Antonio Spurs small forward Sean Elliot. He was part of the All-Rookie team, but the best milestone he received during the duration of his career is his 1999 NBA Championship.
Elliot was a key cog in that run as he started all 50 games of the lockout-shortened campaign, highlighted by his miraculous game winner on Memorial Day. Starting on 712 out of his 742 NBA career contests is an inspiring achievement for a role player who averaged 14.2 PPG in 12 seasons.
7. Dejounte Murray
The current Atlanta Hawks guard was an excellent revelation during his first couple of years with San Antonio. Similar to Derrick White, Dejounte Murray was selected at the latter juncture of the first round, but he turned out to be one of the best players in his class.
The separation between the Spurs and Murray could have been better, but his career would not have jumpstarted well if not for the break given to him by head coach Gregg Popovich. An All-Star season in 2021 has been an early highlight in his young career, but the upside is still pleasing for the young man from Washington.
6. Alvin Robertson
Similar to Dejounte Murray, Alvin Robertson is a pest on the defensive side of the floor. Robertson is known for his defensive prowess as he is a six-time All-Defensive Team selection, and he also led the league in steals thrice during the course of his NBA career.
In 10 NBA seasons, Robertson averaged 2.7 steals per game, which exemplifies his strength in that category. He also has one All-NBA selection in his bag during the 1986 season, along with the Defensive Player of the Year and the Most Improved Player of the Year in the same year.
Arguably the most talked about prospect since LeBron James is the French sensation Victor Wembanyama. The NBA pundits might be irate about why he is just fifth on the list even if he may likely have a better NBA career than some of the others after him, but he cannot be put over Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker if he has not played a single contest at the NBA stage yet.
However, Wembanyama is no doubt the franchise cornerstone of the Spurs organization, and that is the primary reason why Popovich will remain with San Antonio for at least five more seasons. The combination of Wembanyama's height, repertoire, athleticism, and IQ are the main ingredients why he will have a legendary NBA career.
4. Manu Ginobili
This is where the discussion begins where all of the Hall of Famers are discussed from the Spurs franchise. It starts with the lefty shooting guard from Argentina Manu Ginobili. He is part of the 2022 Hall of Fame class, a four-time NBA Champion, and a two-time All-NBA selection. Ginobili is one of the most well-loved role players in NBA history because of his patented Eurostep and humble demeanor.
Ginobili sacrificed a ton of points and touches as he played alongside Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, but that did not hinder him during his NBA career. There were even several seasons wherein Ginobili rarely started the game, but he still performed at a high level. He is only a two-time All-Star, but any Spurs die-hard fan would tell you that his impact was much more felt in their city and fanbase.
3. Tony Parker
The starting point guard of the dynasty run of San Antonio was the French phenom Tony Parker. Being selected 28th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft was not that high of a selection, but Parker started 72 games in his rookie year and tallied remarkable numbers for an inexperienced guard. He received an All-Rookie plum, and won his first NBA Championship at the age of 20.
Parker added three more championships before it was all set and done as he was a six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA player as well. Going up against the likes of Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd during the prime of his career has underrated the achievements of Parker, but any NBA diehard knows the immense impact that he brought to the Spurs organization.
The final two members of the top 10 draft picks of the Spurs organization are both big men who catapulted San Antonio to their first championship in franchise history. David Robinson is a 14-time NBA veteran who was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2009. Some of his notable accolades are a two-time NBA champion, 10-time All-NBA, 10 All-Star, and 1995 NBA MVP.
Robinson is regarded as one of the best centers in NBA history, and there is no doubt that he is part of that category. It has been no secret that the Spurs franchise tends to have some bias on individuals who flourish on the defensive end of the floor, and Robinson proved that they were not wrong. To cap it off, David Robinson was part of the batch of players that was included on the NBA 75th Anniversary team as well.
1. Tim Duncan
The best power forward in NBA history donned the San Antonio Spurs jersey, and there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the best draft pick of the Spurs franchise is Wake Forest's Tim Duncan. He is one of the most down-to-earth and humble superstars in the history of the association, so there is no question on why his success has reached astronomical levels.
Duncan spent 19 years in the NBA with most of it coming as one of the top players in the league. Four of the championships were with Parker and Ginobili, while one of them was won with Robinson. But, that milestone is not enough to encapsulate the value of his NBA career. Duncan was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2020, highlighted by his whopping 15 All-NBA selections and 15 All-Defensive teams.
Duncan was also an MVP of the league for two seasons and a three-time Finals MVP. The Spurs are lucky and fortunate to have drafted all these successful men as these athletes encompass the impressive class the organization continues to portray.