The San Antonio Spurs have made a living off of players who were taken late in the draft. The Indiana Pacers drafted Kawhi Leonard 15th and then shipped him to San Antonio for George Hill, one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory. Tony Parker was the 28th pick in the 2001 draft. Manu Ginobili was the 57th pick in the 1999 draft.
And Portland drafted Patty Mills, just the second indigenous Australian to ever play a game in the NBA, 55th in the 2009 NBA draft. After two years of limited minutes and the looming threat of the NBA Lockout, Mills moved his talents overseas and played first with the Melbourne Tigers and later in the Chinese Basketball Association. Mills was eager to showcase his talent so an NBA team would pick him up and caught the attention of the legendary Greg Popovich.
Many teams are skeptical of drafting international talent, but Popovich is not. In 2013, the Spurs set an NBA record with 10 international players on their roster. In that same season, a whopping 11% of the international players at the start of the 2013-2014 season played for the Spurs. The only players on that team who weren’t international were Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Leonard, Matt Boner……..Read More