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What an extensive look at the history of the ninth overall pick says for the Spurs

How has the ninth overall pick fared over the last 50 years, and what could that mean for San Antonio — if anything?

San Antonio Spurs v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are a little more than a month away from choosing ninth in the 2022 NBA Draft after the lottery balls denied them a fortunate bounce on Tuesday night. Though the Silver and Black didn’t win the Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, or Jabari Smith Jr. sweepstakes, they still own their earliest selection since Tim Duncan.

The mid-lottery might feel like a disappointing outcome for an undeniably arduous regular season. But PATFO have developed unpolished prospects better than almost any franchise over the last two decades. And they will have a surplus of talented youngsters to choose from when commissioner Adam Silver steps up to the podium on June 23.

The ninth pick has a rich history chock-full of an assortment of stars, role players, and busts, so let’s take an in-depth trip down memory lane to see what this draft positioning might offer the good guys.

Key

Superstar: A player who left a meaningful mark on basketball or was capable of leading his team to the NBA Finals.

Perennial All-Star: A player who routinely made or was in consideration for All-Star teams in their NBA career.

All-Star: A player who received at least one All-Star team nomination throughout their NBA career.

Star: A player capable of carrying a heavy scoring load for a team in playoff contention who failed to make an All-Star appearance.

Solid Starter: A player capable of effectively playing a role as a starter on a playoff-caliber team.

Functional Role Player: A player capable of carving out a role in the rotation for a competitive NBA franchise.

Bench Warmer: A player who spent most of their career coming off the bench playing limited minutes on their stops around the league.

Bust: A player who drastically failed to meet expectations or flamed out of the NBA within a few seasons.

* = Player is still active

(G) = Guard

(F) = Forward

(C) = Center

Historical Draft Results

2021: Davion Mitchell (G)

Original Franchise: Sacramento Kings

Seasons Played: 1*

Career Per-Game Stats: 11.5 PPG/2.2 RPG/4.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .418 FG%/.316. 3P%/.659 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

2020: Deni Avdija (F)

Original Franchise: Washington Wizards

Seasons Played: 2*

Career Per-Game Stats: 7.6 PPG/5.1 RPG/1.7 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .426 FG%/.316 3P%/.729 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

2019: Rui Hachimura (F)

Original Franchise: Washington Wizards

Seasons Played: 3*

Career Per-Game Stats: 13.0 PPG/5.2 RPG/1.5 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .477 FG%/.360 3P%/.779 FT%

Peak Outcome: Solid Starter

2018: Kevin Knox (F)

Original Franchise: New York Knicks

Seasons Played: 4*

Career Per-Game Stats: 7.7 PPG/2.9 RPG/0.8 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .369 FG%/.340 3P%/.705 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

2017: Dennis Smith Jr. (G)

Original Franchise: Dallas Mavericks

Seasons Played: 5*

Career Per-Game Stats: 10.7 PPG/2.9 RPG/4.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .402 FG5/.312 3P%/.652 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

2016: Jakob Poeltl (C)

Original Franchise: Toronto Raptors

Seasons Played: 6*

Career Per-Game Stats: 7.3 PPG/6.1 RPG/1.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .628 FG%/.667 3P%/.518 FT%

Peak Outcome: Solid Starter

2015: Frank Kaminsky (C)

Original Franchise: Charlotte Hornets

Seasons Played: 7*

Career Per-Game Stats: 9.4 PPG/4.1 RPG/1.6 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .429 FG%/.348 3P%/.743 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

2014: Noah Vonleh (C)

Original Franchise: Charlotte Hornets

Seasons Played: 7

Career Per-Game Stats: 4.9 PPG/5.1 RPG/0.8 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .459 FG%/.308 3P%/.691 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bench Warmer

2013: Trey Burke (G)

Original Franchise: Utah Jazz

Seasons Played: 9*

Career Per-Game Stats: 9.6 PPG/1.8 RPG/3.1 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .410 FG%/.345 3P%/.810 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bench Warmer

2012: Andre Drummond (C)

Original Franchise: Detroit Pistons

Seasons Played: 10*

Career Per-Game Stats: 13.8 PPG/13.3 RPG/1.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .540 FG%/.132 3P%/.473 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

2011: Kemba Walker (G)

Original Franchise: Charlotte Bobcats

Seasons Played: 11*

Career Per-Game Stats: 19.5 PPG/3.8 RPG/5.3 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .418 FG%/.360 3P%/.840 FT%

Peak Outcome: Perennial All-Star

2010: Gordon Hayward (F)

Original Franchise: Utah Jazz

Seasons Played: 12*

Career Per-Game Stats: 15.6 PPG/4.5 RPG/3.5 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .453 FG%/.371 3P%/.826 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

2009: DeMar DeRozan (G)

Original Franchise: Toronto Raptors

Seasons Played: 13*

Career Per-Game Stats: 20.8 PPG/4.4 RPG/3.9 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .465 FG%/.288 3P%/.837 FT%

Peak Outcome: Perennial All-Star

2008: D.J. Augustin (G)

Original Franchise: Charlotte Bobcats

Seasons Played: 14*

Career Per-Game Stats: 9.5 PPG/1.8 RPG/3.9 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .412 FG%/.381 3P%/.867 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

2007: Joakim Noah (C)

Original Franchise: Chicago Bulls

Seasons Played: 13

Career Per-Game Stats: 8.8 PPG/9.0 RPG/2.8 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .491 FG%/.000 3P%/.700 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

2006: Patrick O’Bryant (C)

Original Franchise: Golden State Warriors

Seasons Played: 4

Career Per-Game Stats: 2.1 PPG/1.4 RPG/0.3 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .494 FG%/.000 3P%/.583 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

2005: Ike Diogu (F)

Original Franchise: Golden State Warriors

Seasons Played: 6

Career Per-Game Stats: 6.0 PPG/3.1 RPG/0.3 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .509 FG%/.500 3P%/.786 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

2004: Andre Iguodala (F)

Original Franchise: Philadelphia 76ers

Seasons Played: 18*

Career Per-Game Stats: 11.4 PPG/4.9 RPG/4.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .463 FG%/.330 3P%/.709 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

2003: Mike Sweetney (F)

Original Franchise: New York Knicks

Seasons Played: 4

Career Per-Game Stats: 6.5 PPG/4.5 RPG/0.6 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .485 FG%/.000 3P%/.689 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

2002: Amar’e Stoudemire (F)

Original Franchise: Phoenix Suns

Seasons Played: 14

Career Per-Game Stats: 18.9 PPG/7.8 RPG/1.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .537 FG%/.236 3P%/.761 FT%

Peak Outcome: Perennial All-Star

2001: Rodney White (F)

Original Franchise: Detroit Pistons

Seasons Played: 4

Career Per-Game Stats: 7.1 PPG/2.2 RPG/1.1 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .424 FG%/.314 3P%/.749 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

2000: Joel Przybilla (C)

Original Franchise: Milwaukee Bucks

Seasons Played: 13

Career Per-Game Stats: 3.9 PPG/6.2 RPG/0.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .552 FG%/.000 3P%/.557 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1999: Shawn Marion (F)

Original Franchise: Phoenix Suns

Seasons Played: 16

Career Per-Game Stats: 15.2 PPG/8.7 RPG/1.9 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .484 FG%/.331 3P%/.810 FT%

Peak Outcome: Perennial All-Star

1998: Dirk Nowitzki (F)

Original Franchise: Dallas Mavericks

Seasons Played: 21

Career Per-Game Stats: 20.7 PPG/7.5 RPG/2.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .471 FG%/.380 3P%/.879 FT%

Peak Outcome: Superstar

1997: Tracy McGrady (F)

Original Franchise: Toronto Raptors

Seasons Played: 15

Career Per-Game Stats: 19.6 PPG/5.6 RPG/4.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .435 FG%/.338 3P%/.746 FT%

Peak Outcome: Superstar

1996: Samaki Walker (F)

Original Franchise: Dallas Mavericks

Seasons Played: 10

Career Per-Game Stats: 5.3 PPG/4.7 RPG/0.6 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .462 FG%/.111 3P%/.630 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bench Warmer

1995: Ed O’Bannon (F)

Original Franchise: New Jersey Nets

Seasons Played: 2

Career Per-Game Stats: 5.0 PPG/2.5 RPG/0.8 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .367 FG%/.222 3P%/.755 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

1994: Eric Montross (C)

Original Franchise: Boston Celtics

Seasons Played: 8

Career Per-Game Stats: 4.5 PPG/4.6 RPG/0.8 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .490 FG%/.000 3P%/.478 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bench Warmer

1993: Rodney Rogers (F)

Original Franchise: Denver Nuggets

Seasons Played: 12

Career Per-Game Stats: 10.9 PPG/4.5 RPG/2.0 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .451 FG%/.347 3P%/.690 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1992: Clarence Weatherspoon (F)

Original Franchise: Philadelphia 76ers

Seasons Played: 13

Career Per-Game Stats: 11.5 PPG/7.5 RPG/1.5 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .471 FG%/.196 3P%/.743 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1991: Stacey Augmon (G)

Original Franchise: Atlanta Hawks

Seasons Played: 15

Career Per-Game Stats: 8.0 PPG/3.2 RPG/1.6 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .469 FG%/.152 3P%/.728 FT%

Peak Outcome: Solid Starter

1990: Willie Burton (F)

Original Franchise: Miami Heat

Seasons Played: 8

Career Per-Game Stats: 10.3 PPG/2.9 RPG/1.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .424 FG%/.345 3P%/.786 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bench Warmer

1989: Tom Hammonds (F)

Original Franchise: Washington Bullets

Seasons Played: 12

Career Per-Game Stats: 5.3 PPG/3.3 RPG/0.6 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .480 FG%/.000 3P%/.691 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1988: Rony Seikaly (C)

Original Franchise: Miami Heat

Seasons Played: 11

Career Per-Game Stats: 14.7 PPG/9.5 RPG/1.3 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .484 FG%/.188 3P%/.679 FT%

Peak Outcome: Solid Starter

1987: Derrick McKey (F)

Original Franchise: Seattle Sonics

Seasons Played: 15

Career Per-Game Stats: 11.0 PPG/4.7 RPG/2.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .486 FG%/.316 3P%/.779 FT%

Peak Outcome: Solid Starter

1986: Brad Sellers (F)

Original Franchise: Chicago Bulls

Seasons Played: 6

Career Per-Game Stats: 6.3 PPG/2.7 RPG/1.1 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .452 FG%/.200 3P%/.793 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1985: Charles Oakley (F)

Original Franchise: Chicago Bulls

Seasons Played: 19

Career Per-Game Stats: 9.7 PPG/9.5 RPG/2.5 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .471 FG%/.253 3P%/.761 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

1984: Otis Thorpe (F)

Original Franchise: Kansas City Kings

Seasons Played: 17

Career Per-Game Stats: 14.0 PPG/8.2 RPG/2.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .546 FG%/.047 3P%/.687 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

1983: Dale Ellis (F)

Original Franchise: Dallas Mavericks

Seasons Played: 17

Career Per-Game Stats: 15.7 PPG/3.5 RPG/1.4 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .479 FG%/.403 3P%/.784 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

1982: Cliff Levingston (F)

Original Franchise: Detroit Pistons

Seasons Played: 11

Career Per-Game Stats: 7.1 PPG/5.2 RPG/0.9 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .516 FG%/.152 3P%/.676 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1981: Rolando Blackman (F)

Original Franchise: Dallas Mavericks

Seasons Played: 13

Career Per-Game Stats: 18.0 PPG/3.3 RPG/3.0 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .493 FG%/.343 3P%/.840 FT%

Peak Outcome: Perennial All-Star

1980: Michael Brooks (F)

Original Franchise: San Diego Clippers

Seasons Played: 6

Career Per-Game Stats: 12.8 PPG/6.3 RPG/2.6 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .486 FG%/.152 3P%/.714 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1979: Larry Demic (F)

Original Franchise: New York Knicks

Seasons Played: 3

Career Per-Game Stats: 4.7 PPG/3.9 RPG/0.5 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .459 FG%/.000 3P%/.580 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

1978: Reggie Theus (G)

Original Franchise: Chicago Bulls

Seasons Played: 13

Career Per-Game Stats: 18.5 PPG/3.3 RPG/6.3 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .471 FG%/.252 3P%/.826 FT%

Peak Outcome: All-Star

1977: Tom LaGarde (C)

Original Franchise: Denver Nuggets

Seasons Played: 6

Career Per-Game Stats: 7.6 PPG/5.1 RPG/1.5 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .462 FG%/.000 3P%/.640 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1976: Armond Hill (G)

Original Franchise: Atlanta Hawks

Seasons Played: 8

Career Per-Game Stats: 6.9 PPG/2.0 RPG/4.7 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .408 FG%/.077 3P%/.829 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1975: Gene Short (F)

Original Franchise: New York Knicks

Seasons Played: 1

Career Per-Game Stats: 2.5 PPG/1.4 RPG/0.3 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .352 FG%/.000 3P%/.625 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

1974: Tom McMillen (C)

Original Franchise: Buffalo Braves

Seasons Played: 11

Career Per-Game Stats: 8.1 PPG/4.0 RPG/1.1 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .483 FG%/.120 3P%/.806 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1973: Dwight Jones (F)

Original Franchise: Atlanta Hawks

Seasons Played: 10

Career Per-Game Stats: 8.1 PPG/5.9 RPG/1.2 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .471 FG%/.500 3P%/.740 FT%

Peak Outcome: Functional Role Player

1972: Bob Nash (F)

Original Franchise: Detroit Pistons

Seasons Played: 4

Career Per-Game Stats: 4.7 PPG/2.3 RPG/0.7 APG

Career Shooting Splits: .429 FG%/.000 3P%/.729 FT%

Peak Outcome: Bust

Historical Peak Outcomes

Superstar: 2 (4%)

Perennial All-Star: 5 (10%)

All-Star: 8 (16%)

Borderline Star: 0 (0%)

Solid Starter: 5 (10%)

Functional Role Player: 15 (30%)

Bench Warmer: 5 (10%)

Bust: 10 (20%)

Brief Takeaways

As you can see from the table above, becoming a functional role player is the most realistic result for the ninth pick. Though that’s far from the most exhilarating outcome, fans should take solace that this slot yields a player somewhere between an All-Star to a superstar at the same rate. However, the Spurs have identical odds of selecting someone on the bench warmer to bust end of the spectrum.

Perhaps Keegan Murray or AJ Griffin will fall into their laps via a surprise draft day slide. Maybe Jalen Duren or Tari Eason fit the bill as potentially high-floor high-ceiling options that can earn rotation minutes from day one. Or could the Spurs be pondering another upside swing like Ousmane Dieng, Nikola Jovic, or Jeremy Sochan? Regardless of which route PATFO take, they have an excellent track record.