San Antonio Spurs Draft

San Antonio Spurs: 4 Mistakes to avoid in the 2021 NBA Draft

Cal Durrett
Corey Kispert - UCLA v Gonzaga
Corey Kispert - UCLA v Gonzaga / Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Nikola Milutinov - Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade v Olympiacos Piraeus / Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs can't afford to "draft and stash"

The Spurs have a long history of using the "draft and stash" strategy, though they should avoid using it in the 2021 draft. The strategy involves a team drafting an international player and having that player continue playing professionally overseas for at least a season until the team feels that player is ready to come over and contribute.

While it's worked in the past for San Antonio, most notably with Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, it's otherwise been largely unsuccessful. After all, the Spurs drafted both Livio Jean-Charles 29th overall in 2013 and Nikola Milutinov 25th in 2015 with the intention of drafting and stashing them. Ultimately though, neither of them has ever even played a regular-season game for the Spurs. 

San Antonio can’t afford to employ the same strategy in this draft after essentially throwing away two first-round picks in the last nine seasons. Fortunately, the Spurs appeared to have changed their strategy with new factors like roster expansion and the increasing viability of developing talent in the G-League helping them to develop their players closer to home.

Even Luka Samanic, the only international player to be selected by the Spurs since Milutinov in 2015, was signed immediately following the draft rather than staying overseas. 

With several intriguing foreign-born prospects entering in this year's draft such as Josh Giddy, Alperen Sengun, and Usman Garuba, San Antonio shouldn't hesitate to pick another international player if they feel that they're the best available prospect. That said, San Antonio needs to be able to bring that player over the pond next season so that they can develop and oversee that player's progress.

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