8. Sean Elliott (1989-93, '94-01)
Sean Elliott was a big part of the Spurs' era directly preceding Tim Duncan's era of unmatched excellence. Save for a brief season in which the Spurs traded him away (and likely wishes they never did), he spent his entire career in San Antonio.
Over those 11 years, Elliott made two All-Star Games, including the one held in San Antonio in 1996. Although his consistently high level of play was impressive, nothing was more inspiring than his return to the court seven months after kidney transplant surgery. It's believed to be the first time a professional athlete has returned from such a procedure.
In his first game back, he had a one-handed flush that meant more in the grand scheme than just two points. What made the story even better is that his brother, Noel, was the donor who made it all possible in the first place.
Beyond his feel-good story, Sean also had one of the greatest playoff shots in NBA history, which I couldn't finish this blurb without showing to you.
Highlight: Sean hits the Memorial Day Miracle in 1999.
7. LaMarcus Aldridge (2015-21)
If the Leonard saga didn't end the way it did, it's highly possible we'd be referring to LaMarcus Alridge as an NBA champion by now.
Beginning the transition period from the Big Three along with Kawhi in 2015-16, he averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 boards per game as the second option, and the Spurs won a franchise-record 67 games as a result. Despite the Spurs flaming out in the postseason, they went into the next season with a new duo aged 25 and 31, set up with a supporting cast capable of leading them back to glory.
Aldridge's six seasons in San Antonio started as extremely promising with an arsenal of weapons but shifted to dreary after retirements and departures. None of that was the fault of their established star.
By the end of his six seasons in San Antonio, LaMarcus made the All-Star team three times and did everything he possibly could to make the team's transition from their three Hall of Famers less painful. Hopefully, he can find the title he should've had with the Spurs before he calls it a career.
Highlight: LaMarcus flat-out dominates the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019 with 56 points on 20/33 shooting.
6. Larry Kenon (1976-80)
Admittedly, I hadn't been born yet during Larry Kenon's run with the Spurs, but I just can't figure out why his jersey was never retired. He averaged 20.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game across five seasons with San Antonio, making three All-Star appearances in the process. He kept roughly the same averages through his 32 postseason games with the Spurs.
With James Silas and George Gervin, Kenon helped form the original Big Three in San Antonio that came close to NBA glory.
Kenon's fingerprints are all over the franchise leaderboards. He currently sits at:
- 9th in field goals made
- 4th in total rebounds
- 9th in total points
- 4th in points per game
- 2nd in minutes per game
- 7th in rebounds per game
- 6th in steals per game
I appreciate later number 35s like Antoine Carr and Danny Ferry, but that number should've been hanging in the rafters a long time ago.
Highlight: Kenon drops 51 points on the Detroit Pistons to secure a 20-point win in 1980.