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

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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.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I thought we were going to go after a big with  the 20th?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Actually I would like for them to go after  Josh Harrellson PF from Kentucky at the 59th. 6’10″ 270 Kevin Love kind of frame and aggressive. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Though we only got the 15th from Indy.

  • Lvmainman

    Clearly the GM has Texas goggles on, seeing how he’s the guardian of a player from Texas. C’mon, anyone could see that Corey Joseph isn’t an NBA player.

    Sheldon Mack proved himself to be NBA ready. Why pass on a sure thing like Sheldon Mack? I just don’t understand.

  • Bruno

    Lmao…Trade GH for a rookie???!!! Seriously??!!

  • Bruno

    Lmao…Trade GH for a rookie???!!! Seriously??!!

  • Bruno

    Lmao…Trade GH for a rookie???!!! Seriously??!!

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hey TD here’s your first draft and stash! Davis Bertans!

  • DorieStreet

    This looks like one of those down the line/extrapolated moves that us outsiders (read = Fans) have no clue about what the end result will be.
    We all probably have to sit back and wait  24—if not 48 hours – to see how these transactions all play out.

    Remember: current CBA exipires in 7 days.

  • Titletown99030507d

    The Hornets just took  PF Josh Harrellson. Damn he was a good 2nd rounder.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Is Kawhi Leonard better than Kenneth Faried? They are 7 picks far apart in the draft.  Even Chris Singleton went after Leonard. 

  • DorieStreet

    I was fond of Hill; to me, he represented the first original Spur this decade–since Devon Brown and Beno Udrih–that would be a franchise player post Core 3.

  • TD BestEVER

    Yes and these idiots in the FO got a PG with our 1st pick……. Unless they plan on moving TP and do it successfully…….that will be viewed as a bad move……… it’s too easy to find a backup PG in the league……… Hell you can just go and get Antonio Daniels and let him run back up for the minimum……

    And then we get another Bonner/Novak clone……… what a freaking joke……….

  • Len

    You realize that this is only the third Texas player ever drafted by the Spurs?  The other two were in the second round.  I think those burnt orange tinted glasses are broken in half mate.

  • Len

    **seventh round not second

  • Len

    I gotta say, I’m pretty happy with Leonard at 15.  The guy really helps the team defensively and on the boards, two shortcomings last year.  I like this pick, alot.
    Joseph is another story.  Take a look at the former Texas point guards; TJ Ford, Augustin, Ivey and Bradley.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Rick Barnes.  I dunno, he’s only 20 and at least it’s not another combo guard playing out of position.  I guess I’ll have to judge this pick in a couple years.  

  • DorieStreet

    Probably a talent but was undercoached by Rick Barnes–the track record speak volumes (don’ t count Kevin Durant).
    Longhorns have been a top 5 NCAA D1 program in terms of talent, but far and away have been the most underachieving and disappointing.
    One of the draft websites had SA picking Cory Joseph in the 2nd round;

  • Nima K.

    ADAM HANGA, another draft-and-stash for the Spurs.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Wait… Wasn’t Parker a #28 pick & unknown player who started for this team?

  • Sam

    Leonard says he takes pride in his defense not offense. I say by the 20th game of the season if RJ is still with the team (I hope not), Kawai Leonard will start.

  • Titletown99030507d

    They better pull a trade for a big ready to play or this summer is a bust again.

  • Nima K.

    ROUND UP:

    WE GET:

    1. Kawhi Leonard 
    2. rights to Ezram Lorbek
    3. Davis Bertans
    4. Adam Hanga

    How many bigs? Exactly None?

    How many NBA ready? Exactly none?

    2012 championship prospects? …you get the picture

  • DorieStreet

    Why have Longhorn goggles on now–after Aldridge, Ford, Gibson, Durant, Mims, Augustin, etc.

    80 miles / 90 minutes from the UT campus; Rick Barnes is a subpar teacher and gameday coach, but you can’t deny the talent he brought to Austin.
    Why Spurs FO didn’t pursue Burnt Orange players with more vigor?

  • Bruno

    Hope Spurs get D.West or Varejao trading RJ…

  • Anonymous

    At first I was quite shocked with what we done but I realised that it was quite smart what we done. I thought we had 3 needs – A true backup PG, a starter or backup SF and at least one big.

    Kawhi Leonard was projected to go a lot higher than we got him (I think 8). He looks to be a solid defender and rebounder which is promising. Although something isn’t right about Leonard. I’m almost certain he didn’t work out for us, which makes me believe he could be packaged with some other players t bring in a starting 4 because our FO usually like to interview the player with loads of questions, do their own tests to evaluate talent… etc. 

    Corey Joseph was a shock to everyone (especially with Mack on the board) but our FO obviously seen something in him which made them pick him so high.

    I think the FO obviously have something up their sleeves regarding a big because Pop said in his closing interview that he needed a starting 4. This makes me believe that they will find a trade to bring in at least one big. We just have to trust in our FO. 

  • DorieStreet

    This reflect more on Rick Barnes as a teacher, strategist, and motivator, versus his acumen/skills as a recruiter.
    He’s been at UT a dozen plus years (late 90′s) –and with all of that talent–is it 2 or 3 sweet 16s, 2 elite 8 berths, one final four—pitiful.

  • DorieStreet

    This reflect more on Rick Barnes as a teacher, strategist, and motivator, versus his acumen/skills as a recruiter.
    He’s been at UT a dozen plus years (late 90′s) –and with all of that talent–is it 2 or 3 sweet 16s, 2 elite 8 berths, one final four—pitiful.

  • DorieStreet

    This reflect more on Rick Barnes as a teacher, strategist, and motivator, versus his acumen/skills as a recruiter.
    He’s been at UT a dozen plus years (late 90′s) –and with all of that talent–is it 2 or 3 sweet 16s, 2 elite 8 berths, one final four—pitiful.

  • Nima K.

    ps: Bertans and Lorbek are both 6-10. Not the defensive bigs we needed. Not another Bonner clone I hope. Oh well. The big story of the day is how did we end up with a PG for our #29? Any updates?

  • Nima K.

    ps: Bertans and Lorbek are both 6-10. Not the defensive bigs we needed. Not another Bonner clone I hope. Oh well. The big story of the day is how did we end up with a PG for our #29? Any updates?

  • Nima K.

    ps: Bertans and Lorbek are both 6-10. Not the defensive bigs we needed. Not another Bonner clone I hope. Oh well. The big story of the day is how did we end up with a PG for our #29? Any updates?

  • Len

    I think Cleveland is the best bet for dumping RJ.  Let’s all say a lil prayer that he goes far far away.  Of course the flopping jokes would never stop but that’s a small price to pay for never counting on RJ in the clutch again.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Pop and RC in the Wine Cellar having moldy cheese and lots of wine before the draft. The conversation goes:
    RC: C’mon Pop let’s get the guy you know the big one that’s available at 29. I’ll buy you a 50 year old bottle of Pinot? Pop: Who said I drink Pinot? Hand me that box over there with that red alcohol in it. Uh no, I like the little guy he’s my new favorite player.RC: You know anything about this kid? Pop: No, I thought you had it covered?RC: Pass the cheese.

  • Hobson13

    Now that I think on it, I really like the Hill trade.  We traded a redundant combo guard for a player who was projected to be 7th or 8th pick in the draft.  Just think on it.  It wasn’t but a few days ago that we were talking about having to trade Parker to get to the 7th pick and now we have that caliber of a pick for only Hill.  I do agree that we are BADLY short on bigs.  We really only have 2 legit big men on our team with TD and Splitter.  Blair and Bonner are what they are at this point.  Surely we will see a trade before the summer is out.  Even if we’ve given up all championship hopes, our 4 and 5 spots just don’t make sense.   

  • DorieStreet

    LOL

    But—-CBA still intact for another week.
    I think Spurs FO hedging on no season this fall/setting themselves up  post Core 3.while going for one last stand if a season does get going–whether in October or January.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Could they still go after FA big with MLE and if MDyess is out the door?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Welcome to the Spurs Kawhi!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPnFCjjCklw

  • Bruno

    RC sayed “we are going make a big trade”
    Just look how many SF Spurs have now… RJ will be traded.

  • grego

    You are assuming Green and De’Sean Butler are sure things to make the team. 

    Anderson has a decent chance, but Spurs aren’t exactly stacked at 3 until Anderson/Green/Butler prove themselves. 

    Neal and Manu are 2 guards. Anderson is both. 

    If Spurs are in win now mode and will make a move, they’d focus on getting another big first and then try and move RJ is possible, but likely won’t happen. 

  • grego

    Spurs weren’t in position to get a quality big, but they did get quality players at positions where they needed help in. 

    Spurs were weak at PG, SF and Center. They filled in PG and SF. Center is the toughest, and that’s why you use the Dyess expiring contract. 

  • grego

    He was projected as high as #5 and considered the best wing in the draft. 

  • grego

    At that late of a pick, if he comes through, it’s a great pick. He looks like he has the potential. 

  • grego

    A PG who is similar size as Hill, and defends, but knows how to pass. Manu needed help at the backup PG position, so it works. 

  • TD BestEVER

    thanks for the video………..

  • Easy B

    Don’t know much about Kawhi, highlights look good, scout report looks good…said it weeks ago that Hill was an in between player, and spurs are stacked with combo guards….good gamble….Jeff will likely stay for another year or two and might have an uptick as an SF mentor. Might also get more ball with spurs fourth scoring option now gone. Hoping Dyess plays one more, or we can parlay that into another big with parts in a trade.

  • grego

    Look at the post by Rohpuri on http://www.poundingtherock.com/2011/6/23/2240896/kawhi-leonard-analysis-and-nickname-unveiling#comments

  • grego

    He’s an SD alum who watched all their games. 

  • grego

    They could chase with the MLE but they wouldn’t trade McDyess then as the contract expiring becomes more valuable to them. 

  • andy

    actually, i remember one projection early on where he was slotted to cleveland if they picked kanter first.

    i’m with hobson. for a guy who was a consensus top 8 talent to fall to us at 15, after only trading hill (who i’m sad to see go, but was redundant), that’s great news.

    cory joseph i’m not so sure about, but i read his draftexpress profile (who had us picking him in the 2nd) before the draft, and after watching a few clips now, i think he’s got serious potential. i hope the spurs saw a little tony in him too.

    love the bertans 2nd rounder. he’s a mystery, but some were talking about him like the 2nd coming of dirk. even if he pans out to half that, it’s a steal.

    i give the draft an a-. overachieved with leonard and bertans, but could’ve traded back to grab joseph, and maybe picked up another 2nd rounder to nab tyler and help with our stable of bigs.

  • Rob

    Voice of reason (grego)…where have you been?  Thanks for the links and posts.  Always enjoy your perspective and views.