Scouting, development pay off for Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have long been the NBA’s gold standard when it comes to drafting and development, preferring to scour the globe to find the right players to slot into well-defined roles.
The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs have long been the league’s gold standard when it comes to drafting and development, preferring to roll up their sleeves and scour the globe to find the right players to slot into well-defined roles in San Antonio.
They have more international players on their roster than any other team in the NBA, and some of their U.S. players don’t come straight from this country to the league.
It is a hard way to build a roster, requiring patience, discipline and investment few franchises are able to muster these days. And it is paying off in a big way for the Spurs in the NBA Finals.
San Antonio leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 entering Tuesday’s game in Miami. Game 7, if necessary, would be Thursday in Miami.
The Spurs’ Danny Green, who was cut three times and spent a summer in Slovenia, seemingly is drilling every three-pointer in sight.
Gary Neal, who was undrafted out of Towson University and spent three years kicking around Turkey, Spain and Italy before being discovered by the Spurs, scored 24 points in a Game 3 victory.
Boris Diaw, the once-promising Frenchman who was on his way out of the league before the Spurs brought him in, has played stingy defense on LeBron James and found Manu Ginobili of Argentina cutting to the basket for easy buckets in the Game 5 victory.
How do they find these guys?
General manager RC Buford has assembled an unparalleled scouting staff and worked with coach Gregg Popovich to establish a system and culture over the last 15-plus seasons that allows them to identify the attributes that will allow a player to succeed in San Antonio.
“Once we bring them in, we do take a lot of time trying to develop them,” Popovich said earlier this season.
All-Star guard Tony Parker was the 28th pick out of France in 2001. And despite stellar international play, guard Ginobili fell to the second round in 1999 and didn’t come to the NBA for another three seasons.
• Bob Bender will continue to be an assistant on coach Larry Drew’s staff. Drew, previously Atlanta’s coach, is the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-year coach.
Bender, 56, is a former Washington Huskies head coach.
• According to The New York Times, the Boston Celtics and the Clippers are discussing a proposal to send coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles in return for center DeAndre Jordan and a first-round draft pick. There could be additional picks or spare parts added to make the deal pass salary-cap muster.