Skip to main content

2011 NBA Draft: The Spurs Wanted To Draft Klay Thompson, Not Trade For Kawhi Leonard

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

How the Spurs could have been splashing 3's.

Zach Lowe who writes for ESPN tells that before the quiet and surprising 2011 NBA draft, San Antonio brought in Klay Thompson for two private workouts in their facility. In fact, Chip Engelland who is regarded as the Spurs "Shot Doctor" claims that Klay had the stroke that reminded him of a young Manu Ginobili.

“The intel on Thompson was so jumbled, the Spurs needed two private workouts before deciding to attempt trading up to get him. After one workout, Chip Engelland, the Spurs' shooting guru, told the front office something that made their hair stand on end, officials remember: Thompson's competitive nature reminded him of Manu Ginobili. "There's something deep in there," Engelland recalled. "He has that chip. When you see it, you know it."

Of course, this news would excite any Spurs fan as Manu is a sure future Hall Of Famer alongside his fellow big 3 Spurs in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

However as the draft approached the Spurs weren't able to grasp a deal that would give them a higher draft pick and place them in range for Klay, who eventually went 11th overall to the Golden State Warriors. Of course, the Spurs shouldn't be too upset about not being able to grasp Klay Thompson as they got Kawhi Leonard instead. Kawhi was drafted four picks after Klay by the Pacers but traded to the Spurs for a straight swap for George Hill. Oh, what could have been...

Scroll to Continue


Either way, both players have done extremely well for themselves on their respected teams. Kawhi has won a Championship in San Antonio while being the Finals MVP for the series against LeBron James's Miami Heat, he is also a two-time DPOTY, with and All-NBA selection and a first of many All-Star appearances.

Klay also has won a Championship with his Warriors, is a two-time All-Star and has been named to the third team All-NBA twice. What's not on record is that Klay is also one of the greatest shooters to ever step foot on a basketball court.

Both guys right now are battling it out in the Western Conference in hope for their second Championship in as many years. The Warriors ended the year top of the West but closely followed by the Spurs in second place. Kawhi has forced himself into the MVP talks with his play both this year and last year showing that over the coming seasons he is going to be the man. Maybe even the LeBron once LeBron is done. Proven that he can lead a team and that the Spurs are now his team. A kid who drives a pickup truck and takes the bus to practice now runs the show in one of the most successful sports franchises in history.

It's a very scary thought that Klay could have been on the Spurs. Probably not as scary as the fact that he's on the Warriors, but still enough to make you shiver. If the draft was done again now we could definitely see Kawhi go number 1 and Klay number 2, I'm not sure how Kyrie would feel about this, nor the fact that he could drop down to 4th place with the surge of Isaiah Thomas. But either way, it's great to see that players who went outside the top 10 in the draft turn out to be the best. It gives the draft the meaning it should have, finding a hidden gem in it. Like Kawhi, or Klay.

If only Klay was in that silver and black...

Take a look around.