During the 2011 NBA draft night, the San Antonio Spurs made a deal that sent George Hill to Indiana. Much of the attention were focused on the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and the 42nd draft pick that was used to get young Latvian Davis Bertans.
That same night, another young player picked by the Spurs is Texas point guard Cory Joseph.
Many were surprised and even criticized this choice, but the truth is, the Spurs had their eye on Joseph at number 29 the whole time.
Especially when they’ve dealt Hill to Indiana that left a void at the backup point guard spot.
Joseph is another step in the direction if the Spurs aims to get back as a defensive-minded team.
He has a very well-rounded game, a good decision maker and, like Leonard, a proven winner.
During his time with the Texas Longhorns, Joseph has shown an athletic burst to go along with his elite floor control. He also has a very good feel for the game, which a lot of prospects do not possess.
He has also shown that he can transition well from being a distributor to a scorer, which Hill always struggled with.
The Spurs’ coaching staff always pleaded for Hill to pick his spots and be aggressive instead deferring to other players. Joseph will most likely step up and command the offense.
He also shoots the ball well and more importantly, he has the potential to be a good defender in the NBA guarding the point guard position.
In a way his game is somewhat similar to that of Hill because he also gives premium on defense.
Needless to say, Joseph is a defensive-minded player. Rick Barnes even called him the best defensive guard he’s had, very solid person, impressive character.
It looked like the Spurs got another player they really want. But will he be able to fill in the void left by Hill?
That will have to wait until the lockout is lifted, and the NBA gets back to business.