Mar 21, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia State Panthers guardR.J. Hunter
(22) moves to the basket against Xavier Musketeers guard Remy Abell (10) in the second half of a game in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs had a late first round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Spurs haven’t been in the lottery in quite some time. That’s not for them, they are used to winning. The Spurs have won at least 50 games in every 82 game season since 1997.
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The Spurs had the 26th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. They had a chance to go for a potential steal in R.J. Hunter and they passed up on the shooting guard. Instead the Spurs took the usual route by taking a player that even the biggest basketball fans aren’t too familiar with. The pick was Nikola Milutinov. Hunter was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 28th pick.
Milutinov is a 7-footer from Serbia that will help the Spurs with the departure of Tiago Splitter, who was traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Milutinov can shoot the ball and has a terrific feel for the game. He can eventually become a good player that teams will regret passing on, especially if he adds weight to his frame.
Despite Milutinov being extremely talented, Hunter was there for the Spurs to take. The 6’6 sharpshooter made his mark in the NCAA Tournament when his 14th-seeded Georgia State team upset 3-seed Baylor. Hunter made a remarkable three-pointer from beyond 30-feet with two seconds to win the game for his Panthers.
Hunter would’ve been a perfect replacement for Marco Belinelli who signed with the Sacramento Kings in the offseason. He has the most range of any prospect in the draft and he might be able to defend both wing spots with his length. The coach’s son has a high IQ and plays well under pressure.
On a talented team like the Spurs, Hunter would be walking into wide open threes. That would be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Imagine him out there with Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan. I know “wow” is all one can say.
In the Las Vegas Summer League, Hunter showed flashes as he averaged 15.6 points in five games.
It’s too bad that the Spurs passed up on Hunter, but then again many teams will regret it as well.