Results from the Sweet Sixteen of the San Antonio Spurs Role Player Bracket Challenge are complete, narrowing the results to just eight remaining players.
We’re getting down to the wire with the San Antonio Spurs fanbase finalizing the eight greatest role players in franchise history. Our Sweet 16 comprised of many famed players who donned the silver and black to the best of their abilities, but came up short when compared to the top dogs in this competition.
Every single one of the players selected was favored in their matchup, meaning that the majority of the winners moving on in the challenge are No. 1 and 2 seeds. The lone player to move on who doesn’t fit the bill is backup center Jakob Poeltl, who is statistically one of the most pivotal Spurs players of the last few seasons.
Poeltl came up big against Dewayne Dedmon, who only tallied 25.5 percent of votes and spent just one year in the Alamo City. He’ll face off against five-year Spur Tiago Splitter, who defeated No. 4 Matt Bonner by 10 percent of votes. Splitter was a starter during San Antonio’s back-to-back Finals runs in 2013 and 2014.
Two other players from that team, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw won their respective matchups by noticeable margins. Diaw was the only player to earn a sweep in the Sweet 16, winning his matchup against No. 3 Fabricio Oberto by 100 percent of votes. Diaw was the most underappreciated catalyst in San Antonio’s 2014 Finals championship and many believe he shouldn’t have earned the Finals MVP honor over Kawhi Leonard.
Mills is in the best season of his career right now and has been a guiding light for the Spurs organization for eight seasons. He’s a fiery point guard whose three-point shooting matches the explosiveness and passion of his personality. To show you just how much Spurs fans love Patty Mills, the Aussie sharpshooter beat starting point guard Dejounte Murray 68.4 percent to 31.6 percent.
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Even so, the second-highest margin of victory belonged to Avery Johnson, who earned 91.2 percent of votes over No. 12 Cory Joseph. This is rightfully so, as Johnson was one of the most influential players in the modern era of Spurs basketball because of the transition he provided franchise cornerstone, Tim Duncan, from Wake Forest to San Antonio.
Another player who played a pivotal role in that transition was big man Malik Rose, who joined the team in the same season as Duncan and spent eight years with the Spurs. He’s a beloved figure around the organization but fell short to No. 1 Robert Horry AKA Big Shot Bob. Horry dominated this competition and will always be remembered for his influential shots in the Spurs’ Finals victory over the Detroit Pistons in 2005.
As for the Wings, No. 1 Sean Elliot and No. 1 Bruce Bowen cleaned up against their competition, finishing off big wins against 3-and-D specialist Danny Green and shooting guard/small forward Michael Finley. These results were to be expected with Bowen and Elliott being so influential to the trajectory of franchise history, but the two eliminated players were serious upset contenders.
Next, we’ll update the bracket and pit the Elite Eight against each other to reach our Final Four.