Back in 2011, the future for a pair of Western Conference powers was changed forever.

The San Antonio Spurs traded George Hill to the Indiana Pacers to acquire Kawhi Leonard at 15th overall in the draft. Four picks before that, the Golden State Warriors selected Klay Thompson.

Leonard is viewed as one of the league's brightest stars and the future (and even current) face of the Spurs, while Thompson is a key member of a Warriors team on the brink of repeating as NBA champions.

However, the league as we know it today would look much different if the Spurs had acted on their desires to acquire Thompson.

Klay Thompson
Getty Images

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Spurs worked Thompson out twice before the '11 draft, and they nearly traded up to get him. Scouts cited his competitive fire, which they compared to that of Manu Ginobili.

The intel on Thompson was so jumbled, the Spurs needed two private workouts before deciding to attempt trading up to get him. After one workout, Chip Engelland, the Spurs' shooting guru, told the front office something that made their hair stand on end, officials remember: Thompson's competitive nature reminded him of Manu Ginobili.

“There's something deep in there,” Engelland recalled. “He has that chip. When you see it, you know it.”

San Antonio was unable to pull off a deal to swoop in and take Thompson, but considering they ended up with Leonard, who has already won a pair of Defensive Player of the Year awards, I think they're just fine with how it played out. So are the Warriors.

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