NBA/Spurs2005.06.30 01:06
정말 스퍼스는 빅맨들은 입도선매 했다가 나중에 하나 하나 비싸게 팔아먹을려는 수작인가? 포스트 보웬의 필요성을 슬슬 느껴야 될 시점에서 그들의 선택은 또 다른 젊은 빅맨이다. 그것도 쌩판 들어보지도 못 한 어린 프랑스 친구를 말이다.

현재 스퍼스의 프론트는 던컨과 라쇼, 나즈, 오리 그리고 올 시즌 팀에 합류할 것으로 기대하고 있는 스콜라와 메센버그 까지 질적으로나 양적으로나 최상의 상태이다. 그런데도 Ian Mahinmi을 뽑은 의미는 다음 시즌을 끝으로 FA가 되는 나즈의 보험용은 혹시 아닌가? 나즈는 77년생으로 결코 젊은 친구가 아니다. 그가 FA가 되는 06년엔 그의 나이 29살, 최소한 4~5년의 장기 계약을 맺어야 될 그이라면, 그리고 연 평균 8mil이상을 줘야 될 그이라면 서른 둘 셋이 되어서도 지금과 같은 피지컬한 움직임을 기대할 수 없다면, 또한 센터로서의 기본기에 의한 농구를 하는 친구가 아니라면, 버리는 것도 어렵지만은 않을 것이다.

스퍼스는 늘 그래왔다. 얻는 것에 비해 나가는 것이 많으면 가차 없이 끈을 놓아주던 그들이 아닌가? 하지만 그 대표적인 인물인 대릭 앤더슨, 수 많은 스퍼스의 거북이 백코트들 중 유일하게 달리고, 뛰고, 덩크를 찍어 넣어줄 수 있었던 그를 내친 것에 대해서 지금 스퍼스를 비난하는 사람은 하나도 업다. 유감스러운 일이지만 그는 지금 잦은 부상으로 경기에 제대로 뛸 수 조차 없는 몸이니깐. 더욱이 스퍼스는 올스타 가드 마누 지노빌리를 이미 얻어놓은 상태이니깐!

Ian Mahinmi란 친구가 얼마나 성장을 할지는 아무도 모른다. 하지만 연중 150일을 해외 선수들을 보기 위해 소비한다란 스퍼스의 단장을 생각해 본다면, 항상 하위픽에 머물러 있어야만 하는 그들. 결국 그들이 선택한 길은 이름 없는 선수를 발굴, 갈고 닦는 것이란 생각이다. 파커가 그랬고, 지노가 그랬고, 그리고 이제 스콜라가 그러길 기다리고 있다.

Spurs draft to world beat again with Mahinmi: French forward, 18, had not been on many lists but follows pattern
Web Posted: 06/29/2005 12:00 AM CDT

Mike Monroe
Express-News Staff Writer

When Sam Presti, the Spurs' director of player personnel, returned last summer from Zaragosa, Spain, after scouting the 2004 European junior championships, he reported to general manager R.C. Buford that he had just seen the player the Spurs needed to target for the 2005 NBA draft: Ian Mahinmi.





(Henny Ray Abrams / Associated Press)

Ian Mahinmi is a 6-foot-10, 230-pound, 18-year-old forward from Rouen, France.
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On Tuesday night the Spurs hit their bull's-eye.
Sticking with one element of the formula that has produced two NBA championships in the past three seasons, the Spurs used the 28th pick to select a foreign-born player virtually nobody in South Texas had heard of, save for the team's basketball talent evaluators.

This year's shocker: Mahinmi, an 18-year-old, 6-foot-10, 230-pound power forward from Rouen, France, who nearly took his name out of the draft less than two weeks ago.

"Last year Sam Presti came back from the European junior tournament in Zaragosa and said, 'I've got our next guy that I really want us to focus on,'" Buford said. "Sam doesn't come that strong very often, so it made an impact. Between myself and Danny (Ferry, the director of basketball operations) and Sam we spent enough time over there this year we felt very comfortable evaluating the growth curve."

Mahinmi, who played the past two seasons for STB LeHavre, of the French professional league, is an explosive player whose skills remain raw. But he is only 18 and just graduated from high school, and the Spurs evaluated him as such.

The Spurs have the luxury of allowing Mahinmi to continue to develop his game, and Buford said they hope to work with Mahinmi and his team in LeHavre to have him remain in the French League for one or two more seasons.

"This is a young athlete," Buford said. "As we evaluated the draft I don't think you ever see a great deal of size that deep in the draft, especially that combines athleticism. Over the course of the last year he made significant progress. We'll evaluate the situation as we go forward, but we think it's best that he stays there in Le Havre.

"They've done a great job developing him to date, and I can see him developing into a real focal point on a playoff team in the French first division."

What did Mahinmi do in Zaragosa to capture Presti's interest?

"I did a lot of activity, run a lot, bring a lot of rebounds and blocked shots and always tried to push my team up and give the maximum on the court," Mahinmi said in a telephone interview from the draft in New York. "I think that is why the Spurs liked me. I'm not sure, maybe because I gave a lot of energy on the court in Zaragosa and tried to do the best for my team; not play for me, but play for the team and maybe that is why they called their attention to me."

Buford agreed that what he called Mahinmi's intangibles— character, personality and team orientation — had greatly impressed the Spurs.

"It takes a special situation for Sam to get really focused in like that," Buford said.

Mahinmi's selection Tuesday night was even more of a surprise than the selection in 2001 of Tony Parker or the selection in 2004 of Beno Udrih. Parker had shown his skills in the Nike Hoop Summit before the 2001 draft. When Udrih was drafted he was 22 and already had played professionally for seven years for teams in Slovenia, Russia, Israel and Italy.

Mahinmi said playing in the NBA has been a goal from the first time he saw a game on television in France, even before he began playing.

"I think the moment when I start basketball it becomes a dream to play in the NBA," Mahinmi said. "I used to watch the NBA games before I begin playing, and I don't even know the French league or the European league, but I really, really watch the NBA when I was really young. So when I started basketball it was to be at one time an NBA player."

Now, Mahinmi has been selected by the NBA champions.

"I am so pleased, thrilled," Mahinmi said.

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