What If You Could Bring Back Any Past Spur for Next Season?

USA TODAY Sports

In the dog days of the NBA offseason, the flowering championship dreams of spring give way to breezy afternoons on the front porch of wistful retrospection. Today, bloggers around SBNation are tottering on their rocking chairs, sipping on some iced tea, and hypothetically pondering the words "What if..."

The most nagging hypotheticals simmering on most Spurs fans' minds these days revolve around the final moments of regulation in Game 6 against the Heat, namely the circumstances and decisions that led to Ray Allen's game-tying, heart-breaking, soul-destroying three. While an entirely worthy subject to explore, it's also one that's been covered extensively - including here, here and, most recently, here - and I'd rather avoid it, if for no other reason than to keep myself from brooding over it once again.

Instead, we'll go with something a little more fun.

I'll look at Spurs players of the past and ask who - if I could choose any guy from any one season - would I pick to join next year's team.

Given the team's unique needs and structure, I'll try and choose the man who would be the best fit and not simply the best player overall. For that reason, while you might find names like the Little General, the Iceman, and the Roach on plenty of ‘Top Spurs Players' lists, they won't be on this one. Still, if you happen to disagree with any omission (or inclusion), just let us know below.

I'll limit myself to the years that the player was with the team, so guys like Dominique Wilkins and his rim-rocking Hawks years are, unfortunately, off the table. I almost amended this caveat only so we could bring back Sleepy Floyd in his prime. Beyond scoring the most points in a playoff half and quarter, he was an professional player who went by ‘Sleepy' and that's just really cool.

To be fair, I also won't be including younger versions of current players - tempting as it would be to see multiple Manus of varying hairlines dribble circles around opposing teams. To be unfair, I won't be paying attention to what these guys were making that year (or calculating what that would be in 2013 dollars), or seeing how that would fit into the team salary.

To get things started, let's look at players that received careful (and careless) consideration and how they would've slid into next year's rotation, before revealing my top choice.

Role-playing bigs who won't shake things up

1996-97 Will Perdue

Why?

Go ahead and laugh. OK, that - that's enough. Really, stop. Even in my home growing up, Will Perdue was somewhat of a running joke (in my card-collecting days, my dad decided to ironically own one basketball card, and it was WP's), but the numbers he put up the year Robinson went down equate in today's terms to big man money.

Never known to be a pretty player, in the 96-97 season Perdue put up solid averages of 8.7 ppg and 9.8 rpg, while shooting around 57% from the field. Last year, Tiago averaged 10.3 and 6.4. Just saying...

Where he fits in:

Perdue joins the 2013-2014 Spurs as a rich man's Aron Baynes, bringing a championship pedigree to the bench and giving the team 10 hard-nosed minutes a game. He doesn't elevate the Spurs to title favorites, but he does help San Antonio bang it out against the bigger teams in the West.

Braces-Era Malik Rose

Why?

Even if Malik hadn't been in at the end of Game 6 against Miami to grab that loose board, the shimmer off his braces would've surely caught Ray Allen's eye just at the right moment. In other words, Rose always found ways to make his presence felt. And he's the kind of high-character dude that any locker room would welcome.

Despite being undersized for his position, Malik managed to leave behind enough highlight reel plays to fill up one undeniably dope Youtube video:

Where he fits in:

Like Perdue, fan-favorite Malik Rose comes off the bench to give the Spurs a handful of solid minutes each game. Rose and Matt Bonner become the team's two favorite garbage-time performers, and Rose's Philly cheesesteak franchise reaches all-new heights of popularity in the Alamo City.

1995-96 Chuck Person

Why?

In the 95-96 season, Person shot 41% from three-point range, while also draining a career-high 190 triples. His size also permitted him to be a serviceable rebounder, pulling down over 5 boards a game that year.

Where he fits in:

The Rifleman joins the bench and brings his long-distance acumen to a team that loves long-distance shooters.

Note: If we don't have the technology to bring back 1995 Chuck Person, this year's version might be worth a look. He may not be able to break free for the corner threes like Pop'll need him to, but he could at least win him a $300 HEB gift certificate at half-time.

Key Rotational Players

1984-85 Johnny Moore

Why?

In his fifth season with the Spurs, Moore averaged nearly 13 points and, more importantly, 10 assists per game, to go along with 4.6 rebounds. Rod Strickland could've filled this role as well, but Moore's better numbers and longer tenure with the Spurs earn him the hypothetical nod.

Where he fits in:

With a bench composed mostly of role players and shooters, next year's team could really use a pure distributor who comes into the game, replaces Tony Parker and keeps the offense humming. On SEGABA's, FOGAFINI's, and other days where TP needs a rest, Johnny Moore provides the 2013-14 Spurs with a capable starter who can also score if need be.

2002-03 Stephen Jackson

Why?

Hmm, I see your point. Instead, let's go with...

1995-96 Sean Elliott

Why?

Elliott was a two-time All-Star and, in his prime, an excellent inside-out threat. In 95-96, he averaged 20 points per game, shooting 46.6% from the field and pulling down over 5 rebounds per contest. Positional conflict aside, Pop would undoubtedly find a way to use Ninja's versatility in a range of ways.

Where he fits in:

A natural small forward, working Elliott (or the aforementioned Jackson) into the team poses a bit of a challenge, given that, beyond winning a championship, few things will be as important to the Spurs than continuing to develop Kawhi Leonard's game. Elliott's versatility, however, means that he can come in and guard opposing 2s, while extending the court on the other end.

Just to Mess with Certain LA Opponents

1977-78 Mike D'Antoni

Why/Where he fits in:

Pop dresses D'Antoni up on November 1st when the Spurs head to LA to play against the team his present self is coaching . To the surprise of those in the Staples Center, D'Antoni the player gets the start, torching the Lakers for a career-high 22 points. Unsurprisingly, D'Antoni the player still manages to do less damage against LA than D'Antoni the Coach already has.

1995-96 Vinny Del Negro

Why/Where he fits in:

Unlike D'Antoni, Del Negro is still able to contribute in non-LA games, stepping up and providing solid, crafty play at the 2 guard. Yet, like D'Antoni, his greatest contributions come in games against the team he once coached. In this case, Del Negro stands outside Chris Paul's home/hotel room before Clippers games and, channeling doppelganger John Cusack, reenacts this heartfelt scene, all night long.

My Pick

1993-94 David Robinson

Why?

Hmm, I suspect you mean ‘Why this version of David?' Though he won the MVP trophy the next year, 93-94's Admiral became one of only five NBA players to score over 70 in a game (even better, that 71-point outburst by Robinson was in the last game of the regular season, and helped him steal the scoring title from Shaq). This was also the same year David accomplished the equally rare feat of putting up a quadruple double, going for 34-10-10-10.

Really, I tried to go with a less-obvious choice (to avoid both predictability and a potential sequel to the oft-forgotten David Robinson's Supreme Court game for the Mega Drive) but, in the end, how can you not go with arguably the most physically talented Spur ever? After thinking it over, though, (and watching the following video a few times) I just couldn't.

Where he fits in:

An in-his-prime David Robinson joins 37-year-old Tim Duncan to create a Twilight Zone-like take on the old Twin Towers: Old Tim and Young David. But does bringing a past version of David - one who has not yet imparted his wisdom on an earlier version of Tim Duncan between 1999 and 2003 - create some freak ripple in the time-space continuum? Can today's NBA handle Robinson's short shorts? There's only one way to find out.

In this scenario, a younger, springier number 50 would likely guard opposing power forwards, leaving Timmy down low to stymie the likes of Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard (occasionally leading David to reference the fresh-in-his-mind film Apollo 13 by chuckling, "Houston, we have a problem"). On the other end, the pair use the high-low game to exploit teams who try and go small against the New Twin Towers.

On the marketing side, next year's Spurs decide to commemorate the return of Robinson by rolling out fiesta-colored alternative jerseys. The once-maligned design becomes a worldwide hit, as almost everyone dons them with some level of irony, aside from Kanye West.

The addition of the Admiral also results in Tiago Splitter being moved to the bench (and becoming one of the best reserve bigs in the league), which the Brazilian humbly accepts for this one memorable season. With Kawhi at the 3, the 2013-14 Spurs now possess the best frontcourt in the league and, as long as the Rockets aren't able to bring back Hakeem Olajuwon, San Antonio becomes immediate favorites out of the West and finishes the regular season with the best overall record.

Once again the Spurs struggle with a streaky Warriors team in the early rounds of the playoffs, before steamrolling OKC in the Conference Finals and overwhelming the Heat in six, for a forgettable swan song for Miami's big three.

As streamers fall from the ceiling of the AT&T Center, an ecstatic Robinson, having just raised his first title, embraces each of his teammates, tears rolling down his face.

Then, a bright burst of light appears at half-court, giving way to a shimmering, ethereal blue portal. Young David and Coach Pop exchange an understanding, fleeting glance, both realizing that it's time for them to part ways.

An incredulous David waves to the crowd and steps towards the blinding light, poised to return him to his own era, before racing back to Timmy one last time.

"But Tim," he asks. "What will 1996 be like? Will George Clooney's career amount to anything after leaving E.R.? Will I win another NBA championship???"

Duncan flashes a quick smile and simply replies, "You'll just have to wait and see, kid."

Would you instead prefer to see the Iceman cool down the Heat next year? Should Will Perdue have been given greater consideration to be next year's savior? Whatever your thoughts, share them below.

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