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The upside of the Spurs staying at 11th in the Draft Lottery

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An optimistic view of landing the 11th overall pick

2020 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

The highly anticipated NBA Draft Lottery came and went Thursday night without the San Antonio Spurs lucking into a top-four pick. The chances of them sneaking into the uppermost part of the draft hovered around 2% heading into the annual event, and the odds played out exactly how they were supposed to, with the Silver and Black landing the 11th overall selection.

Yesterday was only their fourth time partaking in the lottery process in franchise history and their first time in 23 years. And considering the last three trips to the lottery resulted in the acquisition of David Robinson (1987), Sean Elliott (1989), and Tim Duncan (1997), it was perfectly understandable that some fans were left disappointed by their first unfortunate bounces of the ping pong balls.

So San Antonio owns the 11th pick in what many, including myself, consider one of the weakest draft classes in recent memory, but that doesn’t mean Spurs fans should hang their heads. Winning the lottery in a year where the premier prospects are notably short on superstar potential could have put PATFO in a precarious position. Do they deal the pick or is it worth keeping? What could they even get in return?

Instead, the Silver and Black will have the luxury of watching the ten teams ahead of them scramble to figure out whether they want to gamble on a high-ceiling or instant impact prospect with the possibility neither ever materialize. Meanwhile, from Kiki Vandeweghe in 1980 to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in 2018, the 11th pick has a storied track record of success throughout the annals of the NBA Draft.

Although every pick regardless of position has come with its fair share of busts, one thing Gregg Popovich and the front office folks have done exceedingly well over the last two decades is avoid missing on prospects. Of course, they aren’t perfect and there have been blunders, but for every Livio Jean-Charles and James Anderson, there are countless George Hills, Cory Josephs, and Dejounte Murrays — not to mention the slam dunks like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Few organizations are better at maximizing talent than the San Antonio Spurs, and despite being a predominantly role player packed draft class, nobody should doubt the ability of PATFO to make the most of whoever they choose. The Silver and Black have pulled off too many draft-day heists for anyone to think they won’t find a way to make the 11th overall pick a valuable addition to their budding young core.


To check out some potential 2020 draft targets, click here.