© Soobum Im, USA TODAY
The Spurs – and it’s players – have tended to be overlooked through the years despite their successes.
Despite five championships since 1999, the San Antonio Spurs have never exactly had a league-wide spotlight shining over their heads.
And through 22-straight years of postseason appearances – a streak that ended in 2020 – the Spurs have remained a juggernaut while simultaneously keeping things under the radar. This approach has been maintained by the faces of the franchise, like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and David Robinson.
But this, of course, has changed in the past couple of years, as San Antonio has slowly fallen down the standings. The trade of Dejounte Murray in June all but signified a full-blown rebuild.
Still, before the Spurs entered their current era of potential bottom-feeding results, the franchise boasted some incredible role players that fit the team-wide under-the-radar mold to a tee.
Boston Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari, who was briefly with the Spurs this offseason as part of the returning package from the Atlanta Hawks in the Murray trade, will not be included as a former Spur on this list since he never suited up for the team.
The list did not have the players in any particular ranking, but here are the former Spurs listed:
– Danny Green, 2010-18
Green has played for three different teams since the Spurs traded him in 2018, but he remains a memorable fan-favorite due to what he accomplished in San Antonio.
When the Spurs met the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, Green proved on the biggest stage what he was capable of. He set a Finals record (which has since been broken) of 27 3-point makes in the series, but the Spurs lost in heart-breaking fashion in Game 7.
Still, Green built off of his signature performance to become one of the most underrated Spurs of all time. He's currently third in franchise history in 3-point makes (959) and eighth in blocks (450), solidifying his role as a true 3-and-D threat. Plus, he won his first of three career championships in 2014 as the Spurs got revenge over Miami.
Mills' tenure with the Spurs was full of passion, love, and commitment. Once thought of as an undersized guard who lacked the strength and playmaking to be a threat in the league, he proved during his time in San Antonio that any knocks on his game were of little truth.
The Aussie is seventh in franchise history in games played (665), second in 3-point makes (1,171), and first in free throw percentage (.867).
Like Green, Mills was beloved amongst the fanbase and is undoubtedly one of the most cherished former Spurs still in the league, as he begins his second season with the Brooklyn Nets.
– George Hill, 2008-11
It's been over a decade since Hill last sported a Spurs uniform, but it was his career in San Antonio that helped catapult him to become one of the most trusted veteran point guards in the league. He's become a true journeyman, playing for a whopping seven different teams since being the trade piece the Spurs used to acquire Kawhi Leonard on draft night in 2011.
In three seasons with the Spurs, Hill averaged 9.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He led the league in 3-point percentage (46 percent) during his first full stint with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2019-20 season.
– Rudy Gay, 2017-21
Though Gay never quite lived up to the star-level expectations he once had before arriving in San Antonio, he still provided reliable volume scoring and was one of the best pure scorers the team had in the years following Duncan's retirement.
Coach Gregg Popovich primarily used him as a sixth man, as Gay started only 63 games in four seasons with the Spurs. But he still managed to hit the double-digit scoring average in each season with the team while shooting 50 percent for his career as a Spur. He's still yet to shoot a higher percentage with any other team.
Had Gay played for the Spurs at the height of their powers, he could've been one of the most beloved players in team history. Instead, he's often been bombarded with overly-harsh criticisms despite playing for a franchise that slowly started slipping from championship contention upon his arrival.
In total, Gay averaged 11.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 256 games with the Spurs.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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