With the 26th pick in the draft, the Spurs selected Serbian center Nikola Milutinov. It's likely Milutinov, who plays for Partizan Belgrade, will stay abroad to develop.
With LaMarcus Aldridge as a realistic target in free agency, the Spurs needed to preserve every dollar they could and selecting an international player who can be stashed lets them do just that. The savings won't be significant -- around $500,000 -- but it makes sense to attempt to remains as flexible as possible in terms of cap space and roster spots, in case everyone returns. That's likely the reason why the young Serbian center was the pick.
That said, Milutinov is a solid prospect in his own right and could make the jump to the NBA in the future. Standing seven feet tall and with decent mobility, he has been very effective as a finisher in the pick and roll this season. His slight frame makes it hard for him to back down players in the post, so he depends on other to create offense for himself.
On the other side of the court, Milutinov has potential as versatile defender. He doesn't block a lot of shots but plays solid position defense and is agile for a player his size. He's still 20 years old and prone to the occasional mental mistake but should be able to continue to develop under a very demanding coach like Dusko Vujosevic.
It's always anticlimactic when a team selects a player that won't likely suit up for them for at least a couple of years but considering the talent available when they picked and the situation regarding the upcoming free agency period, drafting Milutinov is far from a bad decision.
Here are some highlights from the latest Spurs' draftee.