Spurs.com recently opened up the mailbag for a Q&A with Assistant General Manager Dennis Lindsey and Director of Basketball Operations Rob Hennigan about the Spurs and the 2008 NBA Draft.>> Visit Draft Central on Spurs.com
Name: JavierLocation: LaredoQuestion: It seems shooting has been the downfall of the Spurs each time they have failed in the playoffs. Was acquiring good shooters something that you guys wanted to address in the draft?
Dennis Lindsey: The Spurs’ culture has been talked about over a number of years and George Hill matches how we want our players to represent us both on and off the court. From a playing standpoint, I think the thing that best describes him is that he is a very good all-around player.
When we saw him play at IUPUI we saw some of his defensive capabilities, but the games were more about his tools and quickness. During the Orlando pre-draft camp he showed outstanding agility, body balance, strength, length and just a propensity to want to guard. On the opposite side of the ball his game is very well rounded. He brought a mature skill-set that really was attractive to us.
Regarding Gist, he’s just a terrific athlete whose skills have grown over the last couple of years. His athleticism and length are off the chart.
Rob Hennigan: George Hill brings a host of tools to the club. He’s a guy that we identified early on in the scouting process and really grew to like. He does a little bit of everything. He’s going to bring a defensive mindset, he’s going to bring an unselfish mindset and he’s going to be able to make open jump shots. We felt that his fit on our roster as a person and as a player was something that could really work well going forward.
James Gist is going to have a great chance to make our roster. We wouldn’t have drafted a guy if we weren’t intrigued by his tools and his ability to make plays with his athleticism.
Name: Lon Location: DallasQuestion: Now that the draft is done, was Nicolas Batum the preferred pick at #26?
Rob Hennigan: Nicolas Batum is a guy that we scouted since he was 18 years old. We’ve seen him play 20 times in international events and he was on our radar just like everyone else was.
Name: CarlosLocation: San AntonioQuestion: Do you think James Gist can play a little small forward?
Dennis Lindsey: We see him as a mobile “4” that can play some small forward. The combination "4" is kind of unique for our program. The great thing about James is his athleticism and he has great lateral quickness to also slide his feet around the perimeter. He has defensive versatility and that was something that really attracted us to him.
Rob Hennigan: That’s kind of the million dollar question is can he make that switch to the perimeter and that small forward position. He played primarily small forward in college and that’s where he was most productive. He’s going to get a chance to experiment with that and try to prove us and the rest of his teammates that he can contribute at that position.
Name: AlixLocation: San AntonioQuestion: Was Bill Walker ever on your draft board?
Rob Hennigan: Bill Walker is clearly a gifted talent and a guy who will play in the NBA for a long time. He was a consideration, but wasn’t a priority guy on our board.
Name: JohnLocation: San AntonioQuestion: What’s it like the war room in the first and second round?
Dennis Lindsey: The level of uncertainty in the draft it always high. We have our order on how we selected for us and then you have a market board to try and match who is going to which team. George Felton did a very good job on our market board and sizing up the rest of the league. We felt like there was going to be a good player for us to select from based upon George’s intel.
Name: JamesLocation: San Antonio, TexasQuestion: Most people predicted George Hill to be a second round pick including his school's website. What did the Spurs see in George Hill that they lead them to choose him?
Dennis Lindsey: George Hill is a very accomplished player. He played at a small Division 1 school, but he faced plenty of quality opponents.
One thing that was attractive to R.C. Buford was that his game had a dynamic quality to it in someways, but he could see that his game was also very simple. He wasn't out there trying to do things he couldn't do, he wasn't forcing shot and he wasn't a risky passer.
Rob Hennigan: We felt that George, as a player and as a person, fit our organization as good as anyone. We love the fact that he hangs his hat on defense, he can guard two positions and he can make an open shot. He also brings a set of intangibles to the team that we think our team needs.
Name: BenLocation: San AntonioQuestion: How did the scouting process work with George Hill?
Rob Hennigan: It started with his freshmen year. We identified him as a guy to keep following because we were intrigued by his tools. This past year we saw him a couple of times early in the year and then when he got invited to the Orlando pre-draft camp we really made it a priority of ours to really focus on him and dissect his game. He played very well in Orlando and then we had him in for a workout and an interview. Our coaching staff really liked him and thought that he had a chance to contribute right away heading into next season and we decided that he was our guy.
Name: AceLocation: San AntonioQuestion: What was the team hoping to accomplish with the second round trade to acquire Malik Hairston?
Rob Hennigan: That was a trade that we thought made sense for both teams. We targeted Malik Hairston as a guy that could have value on our roster and then have a chance to make our team. We felt like that decision was able to get us the player we wanted and also give us an opportunity to get another player next year with a pretty good pick.
Name: TomLocation: San AntonioQuestion: What are the plans for the summer league?
Dennis Lindsey: We’re excited about our summer program which is headed up by Dell Demps, who is our Director of Pro Personnel and also the GM for the Austin Toros. We’re trying to integrate all of the Austin Toro programs with our summer league mini-camps. Dell does a great job with that.
Right now our players are coming to summer league training camp on July 10th. They’ll prepare for a couple of days and then play four games in Las Vegas. Then we’ll play another four or five games in Salt Lake City.
We’re really excited about this group. Ian Mahinmi obviously made great strides with the Austin Toros this year when he was First Team All-DLeague. We’re also excited about having three draft picks that can help our summer program and maybe eventually make our roster.