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Old 08-08-05, 12:19 PM
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The Smarter Kid in School

The Smarter Kid in School
Adam Epstein - 8th August, 2005 11:56 AM
RealGM.com-San Antonio Spurs



The San Antonio Spurs followed their storybook championship run, with some off-season moves that surprised just about everyone in the NBA world. As the NBA Draft approached, many assumed that the Spurs were going to pick a European player that they could keep in Europe and eventually develop that player into a star, similar to what they did with Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, and Beno Udrich.

In the NBA draft, there is basically a 25% chance that a European player will eventually pan out to be quality NBA player. Even teams drafting in the lottery cannot seem to grasp picking European players, shown by picks like Darko and the infamous “Skeeta”. So then how in the world does a team that consistently drafts at the end of the first round always seem to draft diamond in the rough European players that aid them in their championship run? It seems that the Spurs success rate for picking these players is on a completely different class than any other team in the NBA. Its almost as though they have a Back to the Future type of Sports Almanac, in which they can dictate the future of the NBA draft. Is there something Popovich isn’t telling us? Based on the Spurs moves this off-season, the answer to that question would be a triumphant “yes”.

The Spurs certainly made people believe that they knew more than anyone in the NBA Draft, when they surprised by picking the ,”who the heck is that guy” player of the 2005 draft in the Frenchman Ian Mahinmi. Not only did no one expect him to be selected in the first round, or second round for that matter, most GM’s had never even head of him. In fact, of the 300 player profiles created by the NBA, none of them were of Ian Mahinmi. Yet, when this large, lanky, Frenchman came up to gave the commish the celebratory handshake, analysts automatically assumed that the Spurs had picked another winner. The next day when analysts were giving draft grades, the Spurs clearly received a very solid grade. This grade was solely based on their reputation alone. The Spurs could have picked a thirteen year old Swedish boy with cornrows, and NBA people would have all assumed he’d be a great NBA player. Their draft pick was shortly followed by what many perceived to be an excellent move in free agency.



Coming into the free agent period, the Spurs were expected to come to a contract agreement with Luis Scola. Scola, for those who don’t know, was another European second round draft pick, and is now regarded as the best big man in Europe. However, talks about buying out Scola’s contract came to a dramatic halt when the team found out that bringing him over would be too expensive. Somehow, the team then pulled a complete 180 and signed the starting centre of the Gold Medal Winning Argentinean National team, Frabicio Oberto.

Immediately one must wonder what every other NBA team was thinking by not pursuing this big man. Not only did the Spurs acquire the 6’10’’ Argentinean at a fraction of the price that they would have had to pay for Scola, but, some NBA experts suggest that Oberto may even end up being a better NBA player than Scola. At this stage in the game, if I’m any other NBA I’m tapping the phones in the Spurs front office, sifting through Greg Popovich’s garbage, or trying to find someway to see what is next to come out of this think tank of an organization. The signing of Oberto, as well as the re-signing of Big Shot Rob Horry left many to believe that the Spurs only strengthened their championship winning team from last year.

It’s very intriguing and quite mysterious how the Spurs are able to consistently make their front office appear smarter than every other one in the NBA. They’re clearly the favourite to win the NBA championship again this coming season. There is simply no reason not to believe that, with their great depth and the fact that their nucleus is only getting better with age, rather than most contending teams. No one really knows if Oberto, Mahinmi, or Scola will be successful complimentary players to the NBA championship team. But, they certainly are doing a good job at making us believe that they’re going to be very good NBA players.
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Old 08-08-05, 12:44 PM
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I was fixing to post this. Theres just one thing I want to point out: the Spurs surprised everyone when they picked Ian Mahimni? Seriously? Was there anyone out there really expecting the Spurs not to pick some no name foriegner? I would've been more surprised if they picked a college kid with cornrows from NY.
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Old 08-08-05, 01:14 PM
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Yeah^^^^but the French kid has only been playing ball for like 4 years right....was a vollyball player before...so I think that's the suprise.
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Old 08-08-05, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousJames
Yeah^^^^but the French kid has only been playing ball for like 4 years right....was a vollyball player before...so I think that's the suprise.

I don't think he played volleyball. Who knows where the ESPN analyst got that from?
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Old 08-08-05, 07:23 PM
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whatever....listen, all Pop and RC do is actually spend the time watching tape, traveling overseas and actually evaluating the talent there.....if any other team in the league did this, others would pick "diamonds in the rough" as well.....nothing to really figure out....just get out and do it.......guess that means the other coaches are lazy...hehehhehe..
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Old 08-08-05, 08:00 PM
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What amaze me is that in the whole article the author never says that Scola is also an argentine. It says that Oberto is Argentine but Scola is European.
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Old 08-08-05, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spursfan20
the Spurs were going to pick a European player that they could keep in Europe and eventually develop that player into a star, similar to what they did with Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, and Beno Udrich.
Ummmm......we didn't stash Tony or Beno in Europe so they could develop......they came straight over.

Oh well......I hope the league's GM's are equally confused/confounded.

Last edited by To be named later; 08-08-05 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by To be named later
Ummmm......we didn't stash Tony or Beno in Europe so they could develop......they came straight over.

Oh well......I hope other GM's are equally confused/confounded.
yep... what is it with journalists that don't do their homework? is it contagious? i bet many posters from this forums are much better informed than many of them...

Tony or Beno... Udrich?
Scola european...



double

and triple

Last edited by mg06; 08-08-05 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 08-08-05, 09:32 PM
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At this stage in the game, if I’m any other NBA I’m tapping the phones in the Spurs front office, sifting through Greg Popovich’s garbage

Im sure Danny Ferry left a few bugs under RC's desk.
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Old 08-08-05, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by To be named later
Ummmm......we didn't stash Tony or Beno in Europe so they could develop......they came straight over.

Oh well......I hope other GM's are equally confused/confounded.


add to it :

perplexed, dumbstruck & stupified ---

you've gotta love CIA Pop at work

not even the reporters know what the FO's is doing ---

not even when it happens right in front of there eyes

Last edited by geeter; 08-08-05 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 08-08-05, 10:30 PM
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From what RC said later -- the volleyball thing was total BS.
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Old 08-08-05, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowowl
whatever....listen, all Pop and RC do is actually spend the time watching tape, traveling overseas and actually evaluating the talent there.....if any other team in the league did this, others would pick "diamonds in the rough" as well.....nothing to really figure out....just get out and do it.......guess that means the other coaches are lazy...hehehhehe..
Don't forget Sam Presti.

I think the Spurs have done a really good job building up their network overseas with coaches and players. This helps them to focus on those players with potential.

They pretty much had to go this route since they always draft low and have little luck attracting the US free agents (except for the "grizzled" veterans)
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Old 08-09-05, 02:33 AM
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Whoever wrote this is a total idiot.

No one had ever heard of Mahinmi? No one thought he would go in the 2nd round? This writer needs to realize that just because he had never heard of the guy doesnt mean that no one else hadn't. He was already being talked up as a nice NBA prospect over a year before the Spurs picked him.
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Old 08-09-05, 06:41 AM
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To me...one of the best article ever about the Spurs
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Old 08-09-05, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
This grade was solely based on their reputation alone. The Spurs could have picked a thirteen year old Swedish boy with cornrows, and NBA people would have all assumed he’d be a great NBA player.
HAHAHAHAHA!
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Old 08-09-05, 10:02 AM
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They do their homework and they work hard at it. It's part of being in a small market, with a budget and a vision to stay competitive. Also, having TD and Drob for the past 15 years didn't hurt either.
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