The San Antonio Spurs selected center Nikola Milutinov, who last played for Partizan Belgrade of the Basketball League of Serbia, with the No. 26 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. He averaged 9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this past season for Partizan Belgrade.
Despite the Spurs’ core group of guys aging and past their prime, the team continues to rack up 50-win seasons, playoff appearances and the team remains in the title discussion year in and year out.
Early chatter indicates Milutinov may not suit up for San Antonio this season, which falls in line with their previous history of stashing guys overseas as they continue to develop their respective games.
Another reason for not bringing in Milutinov immediately is to help preserve cap space for free agency this summer. The Spurs are reportedly one of the teams in the mix for free agent All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge this summer. But San Antonio will have to be crafty with their cap space in order to lure a marquee free agent to town and re-sign Kawhi Leonard to a long-term deal.
Milutinov is a 20-year-old seven-foot center with solid potential. He has the footwork, length and size to successfully make the transition to the NBA, but there are legitimate concerns about his ability to protect the rim consistently.
Milutinov has the potential to develop a strong midrange game, but as of now he’s been much more effective working in the post and rolling hard to the rim in the pick and roll game.
It will be interesting to see San Antonio’s strategy in the short-term with Milutinov.
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