4. Jimmy Butler
Add Jimmy Butler to any team and they get better. He did it in Miami, Philadelphia, and Minnesota. The Spurs would be no different. I picture putting the current version of Jimmy Butler on the 1999 Spurs. The drive Robinson had to win, the generational talent Tim Duncan brought to the table, and the motor Butler has would be enough to ensure Kobe Bean Bryant retired without any rings.
I remember the reports of the infamous October 2018 practice in Minnesota vividly. It’s why Jimmy Butler is still my second favorite non-Spur behind Giannis. I thought about how Gregg Popovich would handle that. He’d cut Jimmy on the spot, no matter how good he is.
Conversely, Butler would never have to do that with the early 2000s Spurs, as they did, in fact, win without him. That being said, if Jimmy Butler took a squad of Will Perdue, Gerard King, Andrew Gaze, and Brandon Williams and beat Robinson, Duncan, Elliot, Johnson, and Kerr all while yelling “you f*cking need me,” I think he would quickly become the highest-paid player ever.
And he’d deserve it. A prime Jimmy Butler would be the second option on the Spurs from 1999 onward. David Robinson would be bumped to third, but it would still be Duncan’s team. With Robinson and Duncan double-teaming Shaquille O'Neal and Jimmy Butler, a five-time All-Defensive team selection, on Kobe Bryant, I think the Spurs win the West every single year.
Jimmy Butler is one of the NBA’s perfect Spurs, and unfortunately, he probably never will call San Antonio home.