In the 2009-10 season the Spurs had their worst record since 1996-97. The crazy thing is that they went 50-32 and finished 7th in the Western Conference. The Spurs got swept in the Western Conference 4-0 against Phoenix.
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As a result the Spurs got a decent draft pick. The Spurs decided to take James Anderson with the 20th pick. Anderson was selected as a junior from Oklahoma State. As a junior Anderson averaged 22.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. Anderson was a terrific scorer in the Big-12, one of the best divisions in the country. It’s easy to see why the Spurs liked Anderson. He had an NBA-ready body and the tools to become a solid defender.
The problem, Anderson disappointed in his brief stint with the Spurs. Anderson averaged less than 4 points in two seasons with the Spurs. The 26-year old guard is currently on the Sacramento Kings. Last season, Anderson posted averages of 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds with Philadelphia.
Who could’ve the Spurs drafted instead of Anderson?
Greivis Vasquez was taken with the 28th pick. Vasquez has enjoyed a terrific career for a late first-round pick. The 6″6 guard out of Maryland has played with Memphis, New Orleans, Sacramento, and Toronto. Vasquez was traded in the offseason to Milwaukee.
The best season of his career came in 2012-13 with New Orleans. Vasquez averaged 13.9 points and 9 assists. Last season, Vasquez averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists with Toronto.
Had the Spurs selected Vasquez he would’ve been a terrific backup for Tony Parker. Vasquez is a fearless guard that loves the big moment.
If you really want to dig in deeper into the draft, the Spurs could’ve selected Hasaan Whiteside (33rd) or Lance Stephenson (40th). Whiteside exploded onto the NBA scene last year. Whiteside averaged 11.8 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks with the Heat. Stephenson on the other hand struggled last season after a terrific 2013-14 campaign with Indiana. In 2013-14 Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason from Charlotte.
The Spurs would’ve had to gamble in order to get these guys, as they were less heralded prospects. Nevertheless they will have better NBA careers than Anderson, at least it seems that way.