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Spurs Draft Pick Power Rankings: 10-6

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Ranking the Spurs draft picks of the Gregg Popovich Era.

San Antonio Spurs v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re back continuing our rankings of the all the Spurs draft picks of the Gregg Popovich era. The second round picks who never played for the Spurs have already received a shoutout, and if you haven’t already, feel free to check out picks 27-23, 22-17, and 16-11. Also, as a reminder:

  • Players whose rights were traded on draft night and never played for the Spurs are excluded. That eliminates Leandro Barbosa, Goran Dragic, and 9 other picks.
  • Three picks who have not played for the Spurs but were either first round draft-and-stashes (Livio Jean-Charles, Nikola Milutinov) or picked with the intention of eventually signing but it never worked out (Luis Scola) are included.

Marilyn’s Rankings

10. Kyle Anderson (UCLA) | 30th | 2014

The 2014 Champion Spurs were the peak of Spursiness: humble, unselfish, defensive-minded, and replete with high basketball IQ. Anderson was all of those things, which made him an ideal fit. His passing game fit ideally with the Spurs offense, his length helped mask his lack of speed on defense, and he could play arguably four positions on the court. His most productive season with the Spurs was his fourth, when he started 67 of 74 games they dealt with an AWOL Kawhi Leonard. He was solid in helping lead the Spurs to the playoffs, but it was obvious he wasn’t meant to be a starter on a contender. The Grit-’n-Grind Grizzlies came in with an offer more than the Spurs were willing to match, and Slo Mo moved on to possible the only team that was a better fit from pace standpoint.

9. Davis Bertans (Latvia) | 42nd | 2011

Acquired in the Hill-for-Leonard trade, Bertans remained stashed overseas until coming over in 2016. He quickly became one of the Spurs’ best long-distance shooters, and despite some weaknesses on defense, his playing time rose each season to reflect his value (although many would argue he deserved even more than the 21 minutes per game he got in 2018-19). Unfortunately, his time in San Antonio came to an abrupt end. Although it was made perfect sense that the Spurs needed get stronger defensively, it all backfired after Bertans was traded for cap space (and DeMarre Carroll — double backfire) to make room for Marcus Morris, only for him to renege on the deal. It’s not how anyone wanted to see the Latvian Laser leave San Antonio, but we can always dream of his return.

8. George Hill (IUPUI) 26th | 2008

There’s a reason Hill is one of Pop’s all-time favorite players and still a fan favorite despite only being here for three years a decade ago. He’s as Spursy as one can get: the perfect teammate, lovable, unselfish, and he’ll do whatever his coaches ask. His defensive prowess and ability to both start and come off the bench even managed to made Tony Parker seem tradable at one point (which in hindsight is silly and more related to Parker having an injury-riddled 2010 season, but the point still stands). Everyone, from his coaches, teammates and the fans were heartbroken when was traded for Leonard (although who can argue with the results). To this day, Hill still lives in San Antonio during the offseason and performs charity work here. He’s the classic example of the old saying: “Once a Spur, always a Spur”.

7. Tiago Splitter (Brazil) | 28th | 2007

The Spurs had been hunting for a tradition center for several seasons, and they finally got one when they brought Splitter over from dominating the Spanish League in 2010. He somewhat surprisingly struggled for playing time his first season, but the Spurs getting bullied underneath on the way to a first round upset by the 8th seed Grizzlies in 2011 (Splitter inexplicably did not play the first three games) showed Pop they needed to get bigger. His fit with the both the starters and bench allowed the Spurs to easily switch up tactics based on opponent, as he was a valuable starter against the tall Mavericks and Trail Blazers in the first two rounds of the 2014 playoffs, and then blended right in with the Foreign Legion bench unit when they needed to get smaller against the Thunder and Heat (which, contrary to popular belief, should not be a knock against Splitter). Injury derailed his career soon after, but he will always be fondly remembered for his role on that title team.

6. Dejounte Murray (Washington) 29th | 2016

The 29th pick always seems to work out well for the Spurs, and Murray is no exception. A potential lottery pick who fell to the Spurs, Murray got his first chance to show he was the starting point guard of the future when Parker was lost for the first part of the 2017-18 season after rupturing his quad in the playoffs. Although he made a quick return, he hit a wall and ceded the spot back to Murray. His long frame and knack for steals helped him earn All-Defense Second Team honors, with the next step in his development being on offense. Unfortunately, he was robbed of that chance the next season due to a torn ACL, but the Spurs still showed good faith by giving him an extension, and he showed improvement on that end last season, especially in the midrange and an improved three-point shot. It’s still hard to tell what his ceiling is, but he’s yet another steal for the Spurs at 29th.

Noah’s Rankings

10. Kyle Anderson (UCLA) | 30th | 2014

Kyle Anderson and the Spurs felt like a perfect match on draft night. The six-nine forward had the brains and defensive versatility San Antonio often seeks out in young prospects, and his methodically patient approach to the game earned him the apropos nickname Slo-Mo. It took him a while to break into the rotation, but once he arrived, Anderson was instrumental in maintaining the Spurs’ stingy defense and trademark ball-movement. PATFO let him walk in free agency two years ago after the Grizzlies offered more than San Antonio was willing to match, but the UCLA alum was a fantastic find for the Silver and Black with the 30th overall pick.

9. Davis Bertans (Latvia) | 42nd | 2011

Although his stint with San Antonio only lasted three seasons, Bertans built a legitimate case to be considered the deadliest long-distance shooter in franchise history. The Spurs turned Indiana’s second-round flyer on the little-known Latvian into a valuable asset for a team fighting for playoff contention. We all know how and why he ended up with the Wizards, which only made his breakthrough campaign for Washington all the more painful to watch. Forwards with shot versatility, masterful perimeter relocation skills, and a quick-release aren’t easy to find, and even if Marcus Morris had followed through on his verbal agreement, San Antonio might still have regretted trading Bertans across conferences.

8. Tiago Splitter (Brazil) 28th | 2007

Another draft-and-stash success story for the Spurs, Tiago will always hold a special place in my memory for his contributions to the 2014 title team. While he didn’t arrive in San Antonio until three years after being selected in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, he made it well worth the wait once he established himself as an everyday starter. Splitter was a smooth big man who did all the little things that impact winning, and if not for a myriad of unfortunate injuries, his career could have spanned more than a decade. Though irrelevant to the ranking, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his beautiful signature reverse layup.

7. George Hill (IUPUI) | 26th | 2008

George Hill was the heir apparent to Tony Parker before a draft-night deal sent him out east to suit up for his hometown Indiana Pacers. The combo-guard was one of Pop’s favorite players, and fans loved Hill just a dearly. He surpassed all expectations set for him by year two in the NBA, and his outstanding play allowed Manu Ginobili the chance to become a full-time starter without a significant drop off in San Antonio’s bench production. Not only was Hill highly effective on both ends of the court, but the Silver and Black likely never win their fifth championship without the trade that brought Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio.

6. Dejounte Murray (Washington) 29th | 2016

I’m still not exactly sure what Dejounte Murray is or what he’ll become at his peak, but for being the 29th overall pick, the spindly guard has already been an excellent value for San Antonio. Murray is the youngest player to be named to an All-Defensive team in NBA history, and the four-year extension he signed last summer tells me the Spurs think highly of the 24-year-old floor general. Dejounte seems to add something new to his game every offseason, and with a full regular season under his belt after tearing his ACL in a 2018 preseason game, Murray is due for a breakout year. Even if he fails to make the proverbial leap in 2020-2021, his floor as a player seems to be an average to slightly above-average starter.