The Spurs pick at #34. They are represented by Trevin Wagener who selects:
In the real draft, the Spurs pick #41
The 1999-2000 Spurs: Overcoming Adversity
Key Personnel Losses:
Sean Elliott - Though they didn't lose him entirely, they still felt a loss. Elliott had suffered kidney troubles and needed a transplant. He came back in good spirits, but his game wasn't as strong. They missed his on-court presence throughout the season.
Will Purdue - Signed with the Bulls on 8/25/99. Spurs missed his inside presence although he didn't show much of one with Chicago.
Key Personnel Gains:
Terry Porter - Savvy vet who led by example, playing very well through out the season. He signed as a free agent from Miami on 8/05/99.
Samaki Walker - Youthful Samaki Walker helped the front line a bit, and showed some potential when filling in for Tim Duncan during his injuries. Signed as a free agent from Dallas on 8/26/99.
I. Season Overview
The defending champion Spurs had a topsy-turvy season. They finished strongly with a 53-29 season, but injuries took their toll on this team. They ended 2nd in the Midwest to Utah and advanced to the playoffs. They were 33-19 against Western Conference opponents, and had a 16-8 record within their division. They fared better at home with a 31-10 record, while on the road they finished with a 22-19 record. The Spurs faced the talented Phoenix Suns in 1st round of the playoffs, but could not regain the form of their championship run. With Tim Duncan ailing, they could not overcome the Suns. After tying the series 1-1, the Spurs fell twice, letting the Suns advance. The season saw the emergence of younger players such as Antonio Daniels, Samaki Walker, and Malik Rose. Solid vets put in their share as well. Terry Porter was a pleasant surprise at PG, while Avery Johnson, Mario Elie, and David Robinson stayed strong. The Admiral had an "admirable" season, making up for the loss of injury plagued Tim Duncan. Now, the Spurs face a very big offseason, with only 6 players secured. Very big decisions lie ahead for this team.
II. Draft History
The Spurs are coached by Gregg Popovich who took over as head coach in 1996 after stints in assistant coaching starting in 1988. Popovich is not only the head coach, he is also the GM and VP of basketball operations. He was the man behind the trade that brought Sean Elliott back to San Antonio, as well as being responsible for signing Chuck Person, Avery Johnson, and Doc Rivers. Mike "Bud" Budenholzer is one of the assistant coaches with the Spurs. He is a young, talented man entering his 3rd year with the team. Another assistant is coaching vet Hank Egan. He brings a boatload of coaching experience and knowledge to the Spurs. The final assistant is newly hired Alvin Gentry. He is the former head coach of the Heat and Pistons, and rounds out the coaching staff nicely.
The position belonged to same man that it has for some time now. David Robinson will occupy this position until someone younger can efficiently outplay him. There was little competition this year for the starting role, as Felton Spencer hardly made a difference. He mainly played garbage time, and the most he played in one game was 16 minutes. As for Robinson, he stayed strong throughout the season, often carrying the team. He averaged 17.8 points a game while grabbing 9.6 boards a game. He continued his solid play into the first round of the playoffs, averaging 23.5 points and 13.8 rebounds over 4 games. In game 3, he scored 37 points while getting 13 rebounds. He was selected to the All-NBA Third team.
Tim Duncan spent most of the season injured, and missed the playoffs due to injury. Sean Elliott made a triumphant return from a kidney transplant, yet couldn't quite recapture his old form. These losses depleted the once strong forward corps that the Spurs had a year before. Though the losses were strong, a few players emerged. Samaki Walker filled Duncan's shoes well. He didn't give any Duncan-esqe performances, but played solid basketball in his absence. The Spurs have a solid young basketball player in their possession. Jerome Kersey, somewhat forgotten in the NBA, continues to provide a veteran spark and is a strong presence on and off the court. Malik Rose continued to improve, showing a nice inside-outside game. If Tim Duncan is re-signed, he is locked into the 4 for as long as his career goes. The 3 is a toss-up, but Sean Elliott can still occupy that spot.
The guards were a mix of savvy veterans and potential filled youngsters. Terry Porter and Avery Johnson played very well this season, teaching their understudies more and more about the game. Mario Elie filled in strongly at the 2 as he always has. Antonio Daniels improved a lot, ensuring that he will be a starter for this team in the very near future. Jaren Jackson and Steve Kerr provided the outside threats, and Derrick Dial played his first full season. Avery Johnson and Terry Porter will ease Antonio Daniels into the starting role at point guard, while the Spurs will search for a solid SG to replace Mario Elie, who is leaving the team.
V. Team Needs and Possible Offseason Moves
The Spurs have many free agents, and the main priority is accessing which ones are worth re-signing. Mario Elie and Felton Spencer are guaranteed to be gone. Jerome Kersey and Derrick Dial are question marks, the Spurs would like to have them back, but it all depends on who else they acquire. David Robinson will be locked up quickly in the hopes of re-signing Tim Duncan. The latest word is that Tim is going to stay, but others believe he will be going to Orlando. As for Antonio Daniels, he would like to be re-signed and eased into the starting role by Avery Johnson, who wishes to be re-signed to a multi-year deal. The Spurs could opt to sign-and-trade Johnson, giving him the security of a 4 year deal, and receiving younger players in return. The Spurs could really use a SG or SF who has good ball-handling and the ability to score from the perimeter, yet penetrate and score when necessary. They could use extra depth everywhere else, especially C. Word has it that Will Purdue, a former Spur, will be sought after. He will provide an inside body that they lack outside of Robinson and Duncan.
VI. Draft Choice
The Spurs selected Lavor Postell due to his great Pre-Draft camp performance. He fills a big hole at SG, and should be able to contribute right away. I feel he has the ability to fill Mario Elie's shoes with his solid inside-outside game, and provide youth at the position. The Spurs took a 6'6" SG from St. John's a few years ago by the name of Felipe Lopez. I took another one this year.
VII. Other Players Considered
Mark Madsen PF 6'8" 235 Stanford - "Mad Dog" had a great performance in Chicago, and showed that at 6'8", he can still be a factor. He would provide some insurance at PF in case Tim Duncan does bolt for Orlando. The thing you have to love about Madsen is his sheer passion for the game. He goes out and gives his all, and the fans love his energy. He isn't just a player, he is an influence to all the other players on the floor.
Dan Langhi SF 6'11" 215 Vanderbilt - A 6'11" small forward has got to be an intriguing thought. He creates a lot of mistmatch problems, yet plays like a natural. Langhi has minor imperfections in his game, but with enough attention, he should get over them. For the raw potential that he has, he is very much worth a look. The main thing about him is his domination of the college ranks. He wasn't a well known player, yet coaches and other teams dreaded playing him. Langhi brings a smooth outside shot and the body to bang around inside, so he could be a second round steal.
Eduardo Najera SF 6'8" 235 Oklahoma - Eduardo was a strong force for Oklahoma last season, leading Oklahoma to the NCAA Tournament. He has a steady outside shot, yet he is not afraid to get on the blocks and fight inside. He could really contribute to the Spurs through determination alone. He is a great team leader, and basically fears no one.
VIII. Likely PickThe Spurs are actually looking to use their two real second round picks to trade up into the first round. They would most likely go for the best SF or SG or opt for a big man as insurance in case Tim Duncan leaves. Lavor Postell would be a good fit, and Jamaal Magloire or Donell Harvey could provide and inside game. They need depth behind David Robinson, and may pursue a project, such as Ernest Brown. If they keep their two second rounders, Mark Madsen, Dan Langhi, Eduardo Najera, Boosty Thornton, and Pete Mickeal are possibilities.
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