The San Antonio Spurs are well-known for their love of drafting international prospects who are not quite ready to make the NBA jump and letting them develop overseas. The Spurs have been successful in the past bringing in players such as future Hall-of-Famers Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter.
Since the San Antonio Spurs have so many international rights to players and some of them, most likely, will be coming to play for the Spurs sometime in the future, we here at Air Alamo will provide updates on these draft-and-stash prospects.
These posts will serve to hopefully stir up some excitement as San Antonio Spurs fans can finally figure out what exactly happened to some of these past draft picks and look to see what the future holds in San Antonio.
Without further ado, here’s our season preview for the San Antonio Spurs draft-and-stash prospects.
Nemanja Dangubić is our first prospect on the list. Dangubić is a tall, explosive player who primarily plays at shooting guard but can also function as a small forward.
Originally selected with the 54th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Dangubić was traded to the San Antonio Spurs on draft night for the 58th and 60th pick in the draft.
A former Adidas Eurocamp MVP, Dangubić will play this season with Serbian squad KK Crvena zvedza. This will be Dangubić’s first season with the team. The Serbian native inked a deal with KK Crvena zvedza this offseason on July 31st.
The deal is for three years with an opt-out option following each season.
Dangubić played last season with Serbian team Mega Vizura. Mega Vizura, like other teams in Serbia such as KK Crvena zvedza, splits time playing in both the Serbian League, the Adriatic League, and occasionally the Euroleague.
Dangubić appeared in 25 games in the Adriatic League last season, posting averages of 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. He also played 15 games in the Serbian League averaging 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
Dangubić is still very young and the San Antonio Spurs front office is hoping he can develop into a solid role player at the very least. He needs to work on his outside stroke but his size and athletic ability should give him an NBA opportunity.
It will be interesting to see how Dangubić plays in the upcoming season, especially since the shooting guard is coming off an injury that prevented him from playing with Serbia in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Nemanja Dangubić and KK Crvena zvedza kick off league play in October.
Livio Jean-Charles is one of the more well-known draft-and-stash prospects on the San Antonio Spurs thanks to NBA Finals analysts bringing up the French forward’s name during the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat series.
Jean-Charles was selected 28th by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Draft after an impressive showing at the Nike Hoops Summit.
Jean-Charles will be playing the upcoming season with LNB Pro A (French League) team ASVEL Basket once again.
The French forward played with ASVEL Basket last season as well, averaging 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds on 60% shooting from the field during his first four games. Unfortunately though, Jean-Charles sustained a knee injury that left him out of the remainder of the season.
The knee injury also pushed Jean-Charles out of 2014 FIBA World Cup play.
Hopefully, the French forward will be healthy this upcoming season with ASVEL Basket.
Jean-Charles has elite athleticism and if the first four games from last season were any indication, the French forward will be looking at a big season this year, one that could end up landing him a gig with the San Antonio Spurs.
One interesting fact to note here, Livio Jean-Charles is the only first round pick of the Spurs’ draft-and-stash products. The last first round draft-and-stash prospect was Tiago Splitter. If Jean-Charles can be as effective as Splitter in the NBA, this will turn out to be a great pick.
Jean-Charles and ASVEL Basket start play next month in October.
Deshaun Thomas, a former five-star prospect and Ohio State Buckeye, is looking for another solid season as he continues to move up in the league ladder in Europe.
Thomas, selected 58th in the 2013 NBA Draft, is playing the upcoming season with FC Barcelona of the ACB League.
The former Summer League standout, who signed a deal with FC Barcelona on August 31st, continues to move up in the leagues of Europe as now he is playing in the ACB League, a league that many consider to be the second best professional basketball league in the world.
Thomas played for French side Nanterre last season, putting up averages of 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds on 43.5% shooting from the field in league play.
Those numbers got even better in the Eurocup. Thomas averaged 13.8 points and 3.6 rebounds on 55.4% shooting during nine Eurocup games for French team Nanterre.
Thomas’ role in this league would have to be a specialist. An undersized forward, Thomas struggles on the defensive end.
Deshaun Thomas is great offensively, however. The former standout high school standout is still a scoring machine and a solid rebounder.
It will be intriguing to see how Thomas plays against the tougher ACB competition. Thomas struggled against higher competition last season in Euroleague play, seeing his scoring average dip below 10 points.
Deshaun Thomas and FC Barcelona begin play in October.
Marcus Denmon is one of the older draft-and-stash prospects at 24 years of age. Selected with the 59th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, Denmon played last season with Turkish team Tofaş Spor Kulübü (Tofaş).
Denmon was the leading scorer for Tofaş in the Turkish League, averaging 13.9 points in 31 games. The former Missouri Tiger also posted averages of 3.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds.
Denmon’s numbers were even better in the EuroChallenge as he put up averages of 15 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Although his numbers appear better from a numerical standpoint, he struggled to shoot the ball well, only shooting 40.4% from the field.
Marcus Denmon will be playing with Italian team New Basket Enel Brindisi (Enel Brindisi). Enel Brindisi plays in Italy’s highest level of competition for basketball, Lega Serie A.
Denmon has a tough road to get to the NBA as an older prospect but it will be interesting to see what the former Turkish league player can accomplish in Italy.
Marcus Denmon is most likely headed for a career that will include various stints with European clubs. It would take a dramatic improvement from Denmon for him to get a call to the NBA.
Denmon and Enel Brindisi begin play in October as well.
Dāvis Bertāns is one of the more interesting prospects the San Antonio Spurs have international rights to. Bertāns was originally selected by the Indiana Pacers 42nd overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. His rights, however, were immediately traded to the San Antonio Spurs in the George Hill trade.
Bertāns played with KK Partizan in the Adriatic League and Euroleague. The Latvian forward played well to start the season, posting averages of 12.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in four Euroleague games, but dealt with a knee injury that ended up side-lining for a significant amount of time.
Although Bertāns did not see as much action as he would have liked, his overall statistics across all his 2013-2014 leagues were nice. Bertāns showed that he was an excellent scorer during the season, posting an average of 13 points in 23 games.
Bertāns started 16 games for KK Partizan which is great news for Spurs fans as Partizan is believed to be one of the better European teams. Bertāns also shot great from deep. The Latvia native connected on 45.6% of his 3-point tries which is an extremely high mark.
There are some concerns with Bertāns though. Bertāns struggles with defense mightily. That is a major concern for the San Antonio Spurs front office because Bertāns’ body has not filled out.
The concern arises because if Bertāns were to play for the San Antonio Spurs as is, he would be pushed around if the Spurs decided to use him as a stretch four.
Bertāns has the size to even play the small forward position in the NBA, but a lack of lateral quickness makes it tough to consider him a viable option at the three, especially considering the elite athleticism that is present in the association.
Bertāns needs to work on those aspects in order to succeed at the next level.
He will get some help this year though. Bertāns will be playing in the ACB League for Saski Baskonia this season after signing a three-year deal with the club over the summer . The high level of competition should allow Bertāns to continue to develop and hopefully get a shot to play with the San Antonio Spurs.
For now though, Spurs fans will just have to wait and see.
Bertāns and Saski Baskonia begin play this season in October.
Ádám Hanga is one of the oldest San Antonio Spurs draft-and-stash prospects at 25 years of age. Hanga, selected with the 59th overall selection by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2011 NBA Draft, played for Saski Baskonia this season.
A Hungary native, Hanga was relegated to mostly bench duties during his time at Saski Baskonia thanks to the roster being filled with great wings such as Andres Nocioni and Lamar Odom.
Hanga put up averages of 5.8 points and 2.4 rebounds on a sweet 51.3% field goal percentage in 26 ACB League games. Saski Baskonia also competed in the Euroleague.
Ádám Hanga struggled a little in his 15 Euroleague appearances. He posted similar numbers with averages of 5.6 points and 2.1 rebounds but his field goal percentage fell to only 44.9%.
The good news is Hanga might be ready for a stint with the San Antonio Spurs. The Hungarian guard has received a lot of mentorship playing under some former NBA players and international standouts and also completed a season in the second best professional basketball league in the world.
Hanga is not going to make that leap to the NBA quite yet though.
Hanga will be playing for Italian side Sidigas Avellino this season after being loaned there from Saski Baskonia.
The 25-year-old forward will be hoping to make a solid impression on what will most likely be an increase in minutes as he tries a couple more times to make that jump to the San Antonio Spurs.
Hanga and Sidigas Avellino begin play in October.
Ryan Richards is the last prospect on this list that we will go into detail with. Richards, an England native, was selected by the San Antonio Spurs 49th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Richards is back to playing with Austrian team BC Zepter Vienna this season after completing a season with Ikaros Chalkidas, one of the weaker teams in the Greek League.
Richards posted averages of 9.5 points and 4.9 rebounds last season on a poor 36.8% shooting.
The Englishman, who was once recruited by Real Madrid, seems to be seeing his NBA dream slipping away after another poor season and a move to the weaker Österreichische Bundesliga in Austria.
Richards has size going for him but that’s about it. He has often been criticized as immature and undisciplined by coaches which cannot possibly do him any favors, especially being in a top-tier organization like the San Antonio Spurs.
Richards has a lot to improve on in the upcoming season if he even wants another Summer League stint.
The big man from England seems to be a fringe NBA prospect and will most likely be headed for a career that includes a lot of travelling through Europe.
Richards has already played for nine different teams since 2009 and looks to break so sort of record if he cannot get out of his funk.
Richards and BC Zepter Vienna begin their season around the same time as many other European leagues, in October.
This list you have just seen is not a comprehensive list of all the San Antonio Spurs prospects. The Spurs still have international rights to four more players (under roster) but since those players were picked before 2006, it is safe to assume they are headed for a career solely based overseas.
We will revisit these players in about a month after their seasons begin to see how they are doing along with ranking them best on their performances.
This list will also be updated in coming months if the San Antonio Spurs acquire any other international rights.
Stay tuned to Air Alamo to follow the San Antonio Spurs’ draft-and-stash prospects! Also, let us know who you are looking forward to see develop in the upcoming European league seasons.