Top 5 important draft moves in Spurs history
For two decades, the San Antonio Spurs have used the NBA draft to build a Texas-sized model of consistency.
A massive model that has produced dominating big men, a flashy international point guard, an aggressive back court presence from South America and a two-time All-Star responsible for the "Memorial Day Miracle" shot that helped lead to their first title.
Since 1989, the Spurs have averaged about 53 victories each year, 11 division crowns and four NBA titles. Even more astonishing, the Spurs have endured just one losing season during this stretch.
Though one draft move in 1987 would change the franchise forever, it wasn't until 1989 when that pick first started playing. He and four other notable draft picks would help shape up the Spurs into one of the league's elite franchises for nearly two decades.
Here are the top five draft moves in San Antonio Spurs franchise history.
No. 5: Sean Elliott
Position: Small Foward
Collegiate credentials: Two-time All-American and Wooden Award winner
Drafted: First round, third overall selection
Elliott was a college basketball star his junior and senior seasons under Lute Olson at Arizona. He was drafted by Larry Brown in the 1989 Draft.
Elliott helped engineer one of the league's biggest one-year turnarounds for the Spurs. San Antonio went from 21-61 in the 1988-1989 season to 56-26 the following year.
Spur fans will likely remember Elliott for his miracle shot against Portland in Game 2 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals.
He caught a pass within an inch of the sideline, stayed on his tiptoes, released the ball and made the shot with 1.9 seconds left. The play would shift the momentum of the series in favor of the Spurs and would later lead to their first NBA title.
Elliott also overcame a personal setback in his life as well. He suffered from a kidney disease and received a kidney from his brother. He became the first player to return from a kidney transplant in the 2000 season.
Elliott retired from the NBA in 2001 and has his #32 jersey retired by the Spurs.
No. 4: Emanuel Ginobili
College: None. Ginobili played internationally in Argentina and Italy
Position: Shooting Guard
Credentials: Two Lega A Most Valuable Player awards, Euroleague Final Four MVP, FIBA Americas Championship MVP, Italian Cup MVP
Drafted: 1999, second round, 57th overall selection.
After being drafted, Ginobili returned to Italy to play for KInder Bologna. After winning the Italian championships, Ginobili joined the Spurs in 2002.
Ginobili was at the old age of 25 when he played his first NBA game, but he would establish himself as one of the steals of the '99 draft.
Ginobili became an All-Rookie selection, a 2004-2005 NBA All-Star, a sixth man winner in 2007-2008, and a three-time NBA champion.
Manu also received a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens while playing basketball for Argentina.
For his career, he has averaged 14.7 points per game and averages 17.8 PPG in the playoffs.
Ginobili is hailed by ESPN as one of the greatest Euroleague players to play in the NBA.
No. 3: Tony Parker
College: None. Parker played internationally in France
Position: Point Guard
Credentials: FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship MVP
Drafted: 2001, first round, 28th overall
The son of a former professional basketball player, Parker spent two years in the French Basketball league before entering the 2001 NBA Draft. He even turned down college basketball offers from UCLA and Georgia Tech to stay in France before going to America.
Parker quickly became the starting point guard for the Spurs and earned All-Rookie First Team honors.
He was later named a three time NBA All-Star, helped guide the Spurs to three NBA titles and became the first European born player to win the NBA Finals MVP.
Parker is known to be a potent scorer and one of the quickest players in the league today. He averages 16.7 points per game in his career and 18.9 PPG in the playoffs.
Some notable players drafted ahead of Parker were Brendan Haywood, Jamaal Tinsley, Joseph Forte, the late Eddie Griffin and Kwame Brown.
No. 2: Tim Duncan
College: Wake Forest
Position: Power Foward/Center
College Credentials: Naismith College Player of the Year, Wooden Award winner, USBWA College Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year
Drafted: 1997, first round, first overall selection
"Dunkin' Duncan" was one of the most decorated college basketball players ever. He is now one of the league's greatest big men and often goes by the nickname "The Big Fundamental" because of his simple but effective style of play.
He formed the "Twin Towers" along with the number one player on this list from 1997-2003. The duo established themselves as one of the greatest frontcourts in league history with their exceptional defense display.
Duncan's presence led the Spurs to another great one-year turnaround, going from 20-62 in the 1996-1997 season to 56-26 the following year.
Duncan has 11 All-Star appearances, an All-Star game MVP award with Shaquille O'Neal, an NBA Rookie of the Year award, two season MVP trophies, three NBA Finals MVP awards and four NBA championships.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has hailed Duncan as "a player for the ages."
No. 1: David Robinson
College Credentials: Naismith College Player of the Year, Wooden Award winner, USBWA College player of the Year
Drafted: 1987, first round, first overall selection
"The Admiral" didn't play his first two seasons because of his military commitment. But when he joined the Spurs in 1989, he helped transform the NBA franchise into one of the league's elite.
Before joining the Spurs, San Antonio was a combined 115-213. Once Robinson took the court along with Sean Elliott, the Spurs would make a 35 game improvement and make it to the Western Conference semifinals.
Since then, Robinson helped turn the Spurs into playoff contenders and establish himself as one of the most dominating centers of all time.
"The Admiral" has a bevy of awards that includes NBA first, second and third team selections, an All-Defensive Team nod, the Defensive Player of the Year winner in 1992, a league MVP trophy in 1995, 10 NBA All-Star appearances, a sportsmanship award, and two NBA titles.
He retired after winning his second NBA title in 2003.
He also won two Olympic gold medals and was named among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Robinson's #50 jersey is now retired and hangs above the AT&T Center. He also has the NBA Community Assist Award named in his honor, because of his charitable work off the court.