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In 1999, the Spurs drafted well beyond their expectations

The future of the franchise would change with the second-to-last member of the draft class.

Emanuel Ginobili

Welcome to the daily Thread. During the month of June, we are talking NBA Draft. As we lead up to the 2018 NBA Draft on June 21st, we will be revisiting the Spurs draft choices. Today we remember 1999.

The Spurs drafted Leon Smith as the 29th pick in the draft and traded him to the Dallas Mavericks for Croatian player Gordan Giriček who went as the 40th pick. Before Giriček ever stepped onto the court, the Spurs had traded his draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies for a 2004 second round draft pick.

In the second round of the 1999 draft, the Spurs use the 57th pick to draft an Argentinian shooting guard by the name of Emanuel David Ginóbili. “Manu” wouldn’t come up to San Antonio until 2002, but there is nary a Spurs fan who doesn’t know this four-time NBA Champion and heart-and-soul member of the Spurs Big 3.

Can anyone among us imagine a Spurs franchise over the last fifteen years without Manu?

Knowing what we know now, do you think teams would have picked Manu over one of the eleven higher draft picks to never set foot on an NBA court? Even with names from the top 10 like Lamar Odom, Wally Szczerbiak, Andre Miller, and Shawn Marion, the longevity and power of Manu Ginobili’s career might leave some front offices to reconsider.

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