Work in Sports
San Antonio Spurs
Returnees: Gs Jaren Jackson, Terry Porter; Fs Sean Elliott, Samaki Walker; C David Robinson
Prominent free agents: Gs Avery Johnson and Antonio Daniels, G-F Mario Elie, F-C Tim Duncan.
Assets: Robinson has taken a backseat late in his career but remains a top-flight center. Walker is an energetic inside force, Porter a savvy floor leader, and Jackson knows how to play his role. Shooting guard Derrick Dial, who has plenty of potential, is expected to earn more minutes next season.
Needs: San Antonio, a championship team just one season ago, is a club now fighting for its life. If free agent Duncan heads elsewhere, the organization would enter a state of disarray. There is little quality youth on the current roster and the veterans all serve as Duncan's supporting cast. Elliott could retire, Johnson and Elie are free agents and Robinson is not getting any younger.
Options: Having only two second-round picks and with the unknown status of their free agents, the organization will simply draft the best player available. St. John's G Lavor Postell, St. Louis G Justin Love, Louisiana State C Jabari Smith, Panathinaikos (Greece) F Antonis Fotsis, Ohio State G Scoonie Penn, Long Beach State C Mate Milisa and Vanderbilt F Dan Langhi are all possibilities at No. 41, but perhaps the most interesting would be Oklahoma F Eduardo Najera. Najera is already a legend in his native Mexico and is expected to become the first Mexican to be drafted into the NBA. No. 54 could yield Cincinnati F Pete Mickeal, Tulsa F-C Brandon Kurtz, Florida State F Ron Hale, Penn State F Jarrett Stephens, Lousiana-Monroe F Mike Smith or Miami G Johnny Hemsley.
The braintrust says: "The strength of our team is in our front line with David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Sean Elliott -- if he comes back." -- director of player personnel Sam Schuler.
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