2011 TrueHoop Network Mock Draft: With the 29th pick, the San Antonio Spurs select…

by

Nikola Mirotic, 6’10” forward from Real Madrid.

Previous pick: Chicago Bulls select Darius Morris

It’s hard to find someone with the 29th pick who can come in and contribute right away. It’s even harder when they’re expected to come in and contribute on a 61-win team. Even harder still when this is expected to be a weak draft when all is said and done.

So the Spurs go with the foreign draft-and-stash tactic that they have been more successful than most teams in the NBA at. The Montenegran Mirotic, coming out of the ACB league in Spain — thought of as the best basketball league in the world outside of the NBA — averaged 8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this past year.

Admittedly, they’re not numbers that blow you away, but he only played 91 minutes in his first 20 contests for Real last season per DraftExpress. Here’s what DX has to say about Mirotic:

Nikola Mirotic faced the highest level of competition of any player in this draft in 56 EuroLeague and ACB games, and managed to emerge as a consistent and efficient contributor as the season wore on.

Scoring 1.093 PPP overall (4th), Mirotic’s situational breakdown lends itself to perceptions of his potential as a stretch-four. With 35% of his touches coming in spot-up situations (1st) and 47% of shots being jumpers (1st), Mirotic’s job for Real was to spread the floor, knock down his open looks, and make savvy plays inside the arc. Knocking down a very respectable 41% (1.1 PPP, 4th) of his jumpers, Mirotic was able to do just that.

Inside the arc, Mirotic only finished at a 60% rate (5th last), but ranked highly in a few notable categories. He was 4th in roll man PPP (1.371), 4th in transition PPP (1.44), and 5th in cut PPP (1.296). Mirotic was notably average in isolation and post-up situations, making his efficiency as a role-player that much more significant. He isn’t a prolific one-on-one threat, but amongst prospects on this list, Mirotic’s situational efficiency paints him as a tremendously safe bet to be able to compete at a high level in the NBA.

When the Spurs have a choice between drafting someone late who can join the team immediatly but be very limited in the long term, and picking a player who will stay overseas for a couple of seasons and then join the team more NBA ready, the Spurs usually choose the international.

You may now commence your “Winter Shoes 2.0″ jokes.

  • Hobson13

     Yeah, I’m not really sure this is a great trade for the Spurs.  Hill is a good young player who has proven himself over the past few years.  Was he really worth anything outside of a top 10 pick?  I really don’t think so.  However, we sure as hell have WAY too many combo guards with Parker, Hill, and Neal.  We really needed to trade one of them.  I’m still surprised Parker hasn’t been traded, however, if Hill really is gone then the Parker trade rumors should cease.

  • Len

    I’m fine with this trade.  Spurs simply had too many shooting guards and not enough defense at the wing.  Good idea, using a strength to address a weakness and the 2nd round pick and Lorbek are just icing.

    Basically, the Spurs took a 28th(?) pick in Hill, developed him for a few years and flipped him for a nice profit.  Hats off to the FO on this one.

  • Jacques

    Damn, Nikola Mirotic has been picked by Houston

  • Len

    I’ve heard rumors of an amnesty clause in the new CBA, which allows teams to buyout one player currently under contract.  Or something to that effect.

  • Jacques

    Too many swingmen, no point guards…… who’s backing up TP?

  • Hobson13

    I think the Spurs want RJ’s ass gone.  Bigtime.  I could almost see the Spurs looking to start this kid.  He was projected to be the 8th pick of the draft so he could be a good pickup from the 15th spot. 

  • Nima K.

    Hes being traded to Chicago.

  • Nima K.

    Hes being traded to Chicago.

  • Len

    Right now, looks to be Neal and Manu.
    I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see a veteran PG, ala Vaughn, to try to be picked up somewhere

  • Len

    Right now, looks to be Neal and Manu.
    I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see a veteran PG, ala Vaughn, to try to be picked up somewhere

  • Hobson13

    I’ve really wondered about the possibility of an amnesty clause.  If the league is going to drastically cut the salary cap, then they’ll have to give a way out for teams that are WAY over the cap with no real way to jetison salaries.

  • Hobson13

    I’ve really wondered about the possibility of an amnesty clause.  If the league is going to drastically cut the salary cap, then they’ll have to give a way out for teams that are WAY over the cap with no real way to jetison salaries.

  • Jacques

     A rookie starting for Pop’s team? NOOO way. Even proven player like Tiago didn’t get minutes (yes, i know Spanish League is different). Leonard is not starting, b/c Anderson is aheading of him

  • Jacques

    I hope Jordan Hamilton comes down to 29th, but I really like Mirotic

  • Jacques

    I hope Jordan Hamilton comes down to 29th, but I really like Mirotic

  • Jacques

    Yeah, probably, spending $1.3 million on a veteran when a cheaper George gives so much more… :( miss George

  • Jacques

    Yeah, probably, spending $1.3 million on a veteran when a cheaper George gives so much more… :( miss George

  • Len

    I think it’ll be a big at the 29th.  Our front line needs some bolstering.

  • Len

    I think it’ll be a big at the 29th.  Our front line needs some bolstering.

  • Jacques

    or not… hate the mavs

  • Jacques

    or not… hate the mavs

  • Len

    Who’s giving odds on Tyler, if available?

  • Len

    Who’s giving odds on Tyler, if available?

  • Nima K.

    I dont know. I think George Hill has hit the ceiling. And he’s inconsistent. 

    But we still need size.

    And we need to do something about RJ and size/defense.

  • Nima K.

    I dont know. I think George Hill has hit the ceiling. And he’s inconsistent. 

    But we still need size.

    And we need to do something about RJ and size/defense.

  • Rob

    Great trade for the need of the Spurs.  A projected top ten pick who will compete for a starting spot against R.J.  At least the team now has legit (size wise) S.F.

    What to expect at P.G. as of now…Ginobili and Neal for spot minutes.  Sounds like Anderson is going to be relied more heavily in playing next year.

    Now if they can somehow address their post issues.

  • Nima K.

    Mavs picked him.

  • Rob

    I would disagree according to need and overload at 2 guard (which is what Hill is) on this team.

  • Varner

    I’m still puzzled by this. 

    It’s a good trade in some ways, odd in others.

    Hm.

    My thoughts to follow later tonight.

    Give me a little time to reflect. Like to see what San Antonio does in the second round. 

  • Nima K.

    Hes being traded to Denver I think in return for Rudy Fernandez

  • Len

    Bulls to take Selby?

  • Len

    Hey Varner,

    What are the odds Tyler gets picked at 29?  Quick, make a call..

  • Anonymous

    Think we’ll take Sheldon Mack to back Tony up

  • Nima K.

    CORY JOSEPH??

  • Jacques

    um……. no bigs?

  • Nima K.

    Dang. Does that mean TP is really being traded??? Cory is a PG!

  • Anonymous

    Shocked, Cory Joseph? PG/SG? Anyone know anything about him?

  • Hobson13

    Cory Joseph.  Chad Ford’s mock draft has this guy going 49th.  The Spurs Front office must REALLY know something others don’t.  At least I hope so. 

  • Jacques

    haha don’t worry about that. Pop is not goin to allow a #29 pick & unknown player to start for this team

  • Anonymous

    Come on, your the expert Andrew. Tell us something good haha

  • Hobson13

    I don’t think so.  You can’t trade Hill AND Parker unless we are aiming to get the 1st pick next year…

  • MrNiko

    George Hill was spose to go at the end of the second round when he was drafted. Give em the benefit of the doubt

  • MrNiko

    We have two picks in the second round now, expect them both to be bigs

  • Jacques

    True, but Hill was the superstar of his school while Joseph is the 3rd player chosen in this year’s draft from Texas

  • Hobson13

    Yeah I see what you’re saying, but either the Spurs front office knows a secret no other teams are privy to or they see potential and are swinging for the fences (what else can you do with the 29th pick in this draft?). Either way it’s an interesting scenario. 

  • Nima K.

    I thought we were gonna pick Kyle Singler, since everyone we were after was already picked.

    But Cory Joseph???

    And since RC has said that we wont make any big moves in the Free Agent market, then its safe to assume we’re not upgrading in size for next season, not at least for the time being. (Our 59th pick will probably be another Euro stash pick, I suppose)

  • Sam
  • Lvmainman

    Corey Joseph? Seriously??

    Sheldon Mack is 3 times the player Joesph is!!! Sheldon Mack is a clutch player, how could the Spurs pass on this guy??

    Corey Joseph is garbage.

  • Hobson13

    Damn.  I sure hope you’re wrong.  We need more size unless we think Ryan Richards can come in and play 15-20 min/game (highly doubtful).  I can’t see us also trading Parker, but there’s no way we can trade that bum RJ for any respectable big.  Hell, I don’t think we could trade Jefferson for Brian Cardinal even if their salaries perfectly matched.

  • Anonymous

    Come on man, lets not trash talk a kid who 99% of us have not seen. Give him the benefit of the doubt.
    I don’t know how I feel about the trade. Reading George’s tweet made me sad, I got the impression he loved our Spurs and he was never short on effort. Great kid, has potential in this league.