You have to be bad, and also lucky, to draft guys like David Robinson and Tim Duncan, as the San Antonio Spurs did, but give the franchise credit: over the years, they have identified talent and drafted brilliantly.
One of their greatest draft coups was picking Manu Ginobli in 1999. You could make the argument, pretty easily, that he was the best player in that draft.
He was the 57th pick.
But we’re guessing even the Spurs didn’t realize how good he would be since they took Leon Smith at #29. A troubled player who jumped from high school to the NBA, Smith was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks for a player you’ve probably never heard of and a second round draft pick. Smith was terribly neglected as a child and had serious psychological issues. His career never went anywhere. San Antonio had two second round picks in 2000; one was Duke’s Chris Carrawell.
Ginobli quickly emerged as a dynamic player. He, as much as anyone, was responsible for popularizing the Eurostep but he was also possessed of brilliant court vision. He could get to the basket, shoot, and pass as well as anyone in the league.
This video is a clip of some of his greatest plays. And as a bonus, here’s a video of his superb passing skills. You’ll quickly notice that everything he does here, he does, well, quickly. This is especially true of his passing.