Jun 25, 2011; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs draft pick Kawhi Leonard (left) and Cory Joseph (right) hold up Spurs jerseys at a press conference at the Spurs practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE
The NBA Draft is one of my favorite events of the entire year. It represents an avenue for any team to drastically improve their respective franchise. I particularly enjoy re-watching the draft in a couple of years to revisit the moment a franchise’s future was irreparably altered. Moments like the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs selecting franchise stalwarts Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Tim Duncan. Or, consequently, Portland picking Greg Oden and Washington suffering the consequences of an ill-advised pick, Kwame Brown.
The difference between an astute pick and an abominable pick can be drastic. One player can dictate the entire future of the franchise. You can either succeed like the Oklahoma City Thunder or suffer the unforgiving consequences of repeated draft day failures like the majority of NBA franchises. In some instances, the player is irrelevant. Detroit infamously selected Dark Millicic with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, ahead of more aclaimed players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyayne Wade. The pick didn’t setback the franchise. Detroit upended the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
It’s a fun time for all NBA fans where irrational hope reigns supreme and reality takes a back seat. Potential and wingspan dominate the talk of the draft as much as character flaws and injury concerns. The San Antonio Spurs have navigated the perilous waters of the NBA Draft by continually churning out above-average drafts. After flipping Richard Jefferson to Golden State, they only have one pick: the 59th overall pick. Considering there are 60 picks in the draft, the chances that this player makes an impact are most likely mute. Here are, however, the latest players to be selected with the No. 59 overall pick. Since there has been 59 selections in the draft since 2004, I added some other notable picks in this approximate draft range.
2011- Adam Hanga, SAS 2010- Stanley Robinson, ORL 2009- Chinemelu Elonu, LAL 2008- Deron Washington, DET 2007- D.J. Strawberry, PHO 2006- Damir Markota, SAS 2005- Cenk Akyol, ATL 2004- Rashad Wright, IND 2002- Randy Holcomb (56th), SAS 2001- Bryan Bracey (57th), SAS 2000- Corey Hightower (54th), SAS 1999- Manu Ginobili (57th), SAS
Best-case scenario. Manu Ginobili. I felt the need to add his name to enlighten everybody (just in case they forgot) about the improbability of a late second-rounder panning out. Ginobili is one of the best, if not the best, draft values in NBA history. Manu was selected behind guys like Kris Clack and Melvin Levett. Think about that. He’s appeared in 803 games since then (including playoffs), averaging 15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his illustrious career. Manu, alone, has produced 99 win shares for San Antonio. At this juncture of the draft, the Spurs cannot possibly expect to duplicate this value but, hey, they can try.
Worst-case scenario. Everyone else. Out of these 12 aforementioned players, only eight played an actual NBA game. While it’s certainly too early to give up on Hanga and Robinson, the odds are stacked against them. Players are drafted at this spot for a reason: they probably won’t be good professionals. They are mostly shots in the dark. The three players that were not Manu played a total of 67 games. Manu was truly an anomaly.
Notable players in the 2012 NBA Draft. I’m going to ignore the fact that San Antonio may trade up back to the first round to acquire talent. Assuming they don’t make a move and draft at 59th overall here are some potential players. I’m ignoring fit for now. In the coming weeks, I’ll actually find players that fill legitimate needs and make a modicum of sense. Chad Ford lists these players at the 50-60 slots in his Big Board (Insider).
Furkan Aldemir (Turkey), Drew Gordon (New Mexico), Quincy Acy (Baylor), Eric Griffin (Campbell), William Buford (Ohio State), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Tornike Shengelia (Georgia), Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette), Kevin Jones (West Virginia), J’Covan Brown (Texas) and Tony Mitchell (Alabama).
Now I forgive you for being pretty skeptical with that crop of players. Probability is not on their side.