San Antonio Spurs all-time draft bust starting lineup

San Antonio Spurs Luka Samanic
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Center: Nikola Milutinov

Rounding out the Spurs' starting five of failures is Nikola Milutinov. Milutinov was selected 26th overall by the Spurs in 2015, with the apparent intention of stashing him overseas. The goal was likely to save money to ensure the team would have enough cap space to sign LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency later that summer, a byproduct of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green's small cap holds.

However, the Spurs shot themselves in the foot since the salary cap ultimately jumped to $70M, up from the initial estimate of $63M, meaning the team could've signed their first-round pick. Instead, they chose Milutinov, a bruiser with limited mobility, when the league was starting to favor big men who were quicker and more skilled.

Had Milutinov eventually come over, his ceiling likely would have been a backup center. While that's not necessarily bad for the 26th pick, Milutinov never joined the Spurs. After marinating in Europe for a couple of seasons, it appears he opted not to join the team in hopes that he'd sign a more lucrative contract after no longer being obligated to sign a rookie-scale deal.

That didn't happen, however, and instead of agreeing to a deal with the Spurs, he decided to continue playing in Euroleague. That blunder meant the team wasted a first-round pick for no reason. They could've drafted one of several solid players instead, like Larry Nance Jr., Kevon Looney, and former Spur Josh Richardson.

The Spurs later cut their losses by trading Milutinov's draft rights to the Brooklyn Nets, but it doesn't change the fact that he ranks as one of the team's biggest draft failures ever.

Overall, the Spurs have had plenty of draft success stories and will likely have several more. Despite that, there are still a handful of missed opportunities they would surely like to forget.

Next. Top 30 Players in San Antonio Spurs History. dark