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The 1999 NBA Draft surpassed all of the Spurs expectations

Fifty-six players were drafted before Manu Ginobili

San Antonio Spurs v Seattle Sonics

Today we continue our tracing of the Spurs past draft picks as we remember the final Draft of the century, 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 all know now, can you imagine any team passing over Manu any 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 most assuredly would have left some front offices to reconsider.

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