The San Antonio Spurs are no strangers to late first round picks and have discovered key contributors outside the lottery on numerous occasions with players like Tony Parker, George Hill, Cory Joseph, and, more recently, Kyle Anderson. But rather than hoping to strike lightning again with the 29th pick - the only pick for the Spurs in the 2016 Draft - the Spurs apparently have designs on acquiring a higher selection.
The San Antonio Spurs have explored moving up in the first round of the draft, per sources. They currently have the No. 29 pick.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 9, 2016
The last time the Spurs moved up in the first round was June 23, 2011, exactly five years before the 2016 Draft is set to take place. That was the night Gregg Popovich traded George Hill, widely regarded as his favorite player, to the Indiana Pacers for Kawhi Leonard, the 15th overall pick. Three years later, Kawhi won Finals MVP and five years later he was the MVP runner-up. While that doesn't necessarily mean the Spurs will find a transcendent, landscape-altering talent should they trade up into the middle of the first round, it does indicate that the front office has a long-term plan and a player in mind when making these types of moves.
The Spurs have several needs going into the draft this year. The bench could use a playmaker now that Manu Ginobili has lost a few steps. Backup center position remains a question mark and starting center could be as well should Tim Duncan opt for retirement. And though it pains our hearts to say, backup point guard needs bolstering after a subpar showing by Patty Mills this postseason. There has also been much clamoring for PATFO to seek out a player to supplant Tony Parker as the starting point guard, so perhaps the Spurs' floor general of the future exists in the 2016 Draft pool. All these needs could be addressed in either the draft or in free agency, but it's possible the Spurs will once again be trading a fan-favorite for a diamond in the rough on draft night. What better way to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Klaw's arrival to San Antonio?