What follow is a look at the Spurs' drafts, as a corollary to the piece on the Blazers' picks. The main takeaway is this, I think: While the Spurs haven't had a high pick (I think #20 has been the highest), they haven't whiffed any of them (at least not yet--we'll see if James Anderson and Cory Joseph pan out). It's not that they've gotten great players, and there's often someone below that's better (there almost always is one or two second round gems), but they've hit value every single time late in the draft. Clearly they've got a really fine idea of what an NBA quality player is (and isn't). Obviously they're built around the great trio that came earlier, but they've kept nailing pieces to surround them. Now, truth be told, they've moved some of these pieces on quickly, but the initial picks are really quite impressive, I think, for drafting so late.
2002: John Salmons (26)/ Blazers took Qyntel Woods (22)
Better than: Nik Tskitshvili (5), Mel Ely, Marcus Haslip, Fred Jones, Bostjan Nachbar, Jiri Welsch, Juan Dixon, Curtis Borchardt (18); Ryan Humphrey (19), Ryan Humphrey, Kareem Rush, ), Casey Jacobsen, Frank Williams
Worse than: Carlos Boozer (35)
2003: Leandro Barbosa (28)/Blazers took Travis outlaw (23)
Better than: T. J. Ford (?), Mike Sweetney, Jarvis Hayes, Mickael Pietrus, Marcus Banks, Luke Ridnour (?), Reece Gaines, Troy Bell, Zarko Cabarkapa, Alek Pavlovic, Dahntay Jones (?), Brian Cook, Ndudi Ebi
2006: NONE/Blazers took Aldridge/Roy (after trades)
2007: Tiago Splitter (28)/Blazers took Oden (1)
2010: James Anderson (20); Blazers take Luke Babbitt (16)
It's a little early to say; not clear that anyone after him is clearly better (probably Fields and Vasquez);
2011: Cory Joseph (29), trade George Hill for Kawhi Leonard (#15)
too early to say, but clearly Leonard is a player.