SAN ANTONIO – After missing the playoffs for an unprecedented third time in a row, the Spurs are back in the lottery again, and life has come full circle. David Robinson will represent San Antonio when the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery is held in Chicago on Tuesday night before the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.
In 1987, the Spurs found themselves in the NBA Draft Lottery in New York after finishing the regular season at 28-54. That marked the worst record franchise history at the time. General manager Bob Bass was later on hand at the lottery to watch NBA Commissioner David Stern pull the Phoenix Suns logo for the second pick in the NBA Draft, meaning the Spurs would pick first. Bass wasted no time in telling the world who the Spurs would select: the seven-foot center out of the Naval Academy, David Robinson. The Spurs took a big risk knowing Robinson still had to serve two years in the Navy before he would be released to suit up in the silver and black.
It was worth the wait. Robinson helped the franchise to two NBA Championships as a player and three as a minority owner.
History repeated itself in 1997 when the Spurs, against all odds, won the NBA Lottery again, this time in a studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. San Antonio beat out Philadelphia, who came in second, and Boston, who finished third. Once again, the Spurs showed no hesitation, drafting another seven-footer, this time from Wake Forest: Tim Duncan. He was a part of five NBA Championships. It was a match made in basketball heaven.
This year, the Spurs have only a 4.5% chance of landing the first pick, but they do have a 20.3% chance of finishing in the top four. Their lottery pick will be one of three first-round draft picks the Spurs have this off season due to trades. The acquired No. 20 from Toronto and No. 25 from Boston.
With the Admiral as the in-person team representative this time, it may be just what the Spurs need for history to repeat itself... again.