Seven players the San Antonio Spurs gave up on too soon
By Ethan Farina
7. Leandro Barbosa
Nando De Colo, Kyle Anderson, and Garrett Temple were all in the running for the final spot, though one player ended their career with a resume that made it nearly impossible to exclude them from this list. This mystery man is Leandro Barbosa. The Spurs selected the blistering shooting guard with the 28th overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, and they sent him to Phoenix for a future first-rounder in a salary-cap-saving deal later that night.
Barbosa was a staple for the Suns and a perfect fit for their famous seven seconds or less offense. He got to the rim on command, drained threes at an insanely efficient rate, and directed traffic for the second unit. He even beat out Manu Ginobili for Sixth Man of the Year in 2007, becoming one of the youngest players in league history to secure that accolade as Phoenix won 61 games and advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals.
Although San Antonio already had a super-substitute on their roster, there is no doubt it would have been entertaining to watch Ginobili and Barbosa wreak havoc as a one-two punch off the bench. This backcourt duo never came to fruition since the Brazillian Blur never spent a single minute in the Silver and Black. And he might go down as an all-time what-if scenario for a ball club that rarely misses the mark when evaluating talent.