Thursday Mail Sac/Pick & Droll: Spencer Hawes, San Antonio Spurs, vacations and mock drafts

Pictured: Joakim Noah. Hidden: Not Joakim Noah. - Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Spencer Hawes in a mailbag? Not a bad idea...

Today's Mail Sac opens with a letter from Schnuppermeister: "In the last few months I saw a lot of topics about Spencer Hawes and the fact that he is a giant ass. Well, he fought for Seattle so I know why I hate him. But most StR Guys and Girls already hated him before this whole Seattle thing and I would like to know why. And the second question: A few weeks ago someone mentioned the thread on StR when Hawes was drafted by the kings. Is there a link or does someone have a copy?

The Hawes history is one of initial disappointment, brief appreciation, benign acceptance of the inevitable, and ultimately loathing.

The Kings owned the 10th pick in the 2007 draft. The first seven picks of that draft were Oden, Durant, Horford, Conley Jr., Jeff Green, Jianlian, and Corey Brewer. The Kings were three picks away, and both Brandan Wright and Joakim Noah were still on the board, and the consensus at StR was that either of those guys would be a welcome addition. Wright went 8th, Noah went 9th, and Spencer Hawes was all ours. There wasn't really anyone left at that point that the fan base was gaga over - Julian Wright, Acie Law and Al Thornton were the most popular site alternatives - but the disappointment over Hawes was palpable, as noted in the draft thread for that year. (It was really 2008 when the draft threads went off the rails, when Jason Thompson was drafted out of nowhere..the group consensus was Anthony Randolph. It should also be noted that StR membership participation in 2007 could usually be counted on one hand, so the '07 thread, even as small as it was, was ground breaking at the time.)

By the next year, Hawes had gained enough credibility that Brook Lopez was public enemy #1 of the StR membership, and great relief was felt when he was drafted 10th by the Nets. Hawes improved his popularity when he was captured on film wearing the famous "Peaches" t-shirt.

Hawes never took "that next step," and he was ultimately dealt, but not before his fallout with Paul Westphal. By that time it was pretty much a case of good riddance. But it wasn't until his pro-Seattle comments that he really became doucheana non grata in Sacramento.

From fccpw: "I've been watching the NBA finals very closely and I'm rooting for the Spurs for this one. I know the new ownership is learning and getting a lot of knowledge from the Warriors with Vivek's tie, but what can the ownership learn from the Spurs? I mean San Antonio seems like a very similar NBA market to Sacramento (one major league team city, mid-population city, doesn't seems like a huge favorite destination for free agent). "

Well, my bitter answer would be to draft David Robinson, then have him miss the entire season prior to drafting Tim Duncan. Profit!

But the fact is that San Antonio has done a phenomenal job of getting the most out its non-lottery draft picks. Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter were both late 1st round picks. Manu Ginobli and DeJuan Blair were both 2nd round picks.

They've also done a great job of sourcing value out of the free agent market. Do you know who led the team in minutes this year? Danny Green, who was signed as a free agent in March 2011 and was ultimately signed to a three year, $11.3m deal. Gary Neal was signed out of the European League in July 2010 (he went undrafted in 2007) to what amounted to a three year, $2.2m deal.

Their one trade of particular note is obtaining the rights to Kawhi Leonard (drafted 15th) for George Hill, who was originally drafted by the Spurs with the 26th pick of the 2008 draft. Again, great job of getting a maximum return on their investment when it comes to their draft positions.

Of course, the biggest factor is probably stability. Gregg Popovich has been with the Spurs franchise since 1994 (fun fact: his first deal in the front office was to trade Bill Curley and Charles O'Bannon for Sean Elliott...nailed it right out of the box). Pop was a front office fixture from 1994-2002, and has coached the team from 1996 to present. It's his system and his show, and everyone has bought into and abides by the system (Stephen Jackson excluded...twice).

San Antonio is living proof that a small market team can indeed excel in the NBA. You need some luck (Duncan), but then you have to go out and make your own luck. The margin for error is a lot smaller for small market teams, as teams like the Lakers can attempt to buy their way out of their mistakes. But it can be done.

Madzillagd chips in: "It's the offseason and people are going on vacation. What's the most memorable vacation spot you've been to and what made it special?"

Hawaii on my honeymoon was awesome, and I took a great cruise in Alaska once. But I'm going to go retro on this one.

1975. I was 16 at the time, and my mom, dad, two sisters and I piled into our 1964 Chevy station wagon and headed out on what was to be our last real family vacation (my older sister soon moved out, and I was also getting too old for these kinds of shenanigans). We spent a few days in the Monterey/Santa Cruz/Carmel area. 17 mile drive, aquarium, boardwalk, the whole magilla, madzillagd. To my surprise, my dad had squirreled away a little bit of money over the past several months, and he and I went and played Del Monte Golf Course, which at that time cost something like $30 each to play, or twice as much as your standard public course. It was like Pebble Beach to us, and my dad was sure proud to show his son such a time, and I was sure proud to be his son. That day is imbedded in my mind.

...As was the next day, when we got ventured up the coast to San Francisco to watch the Giants take on the Montreal Expos that evening. A young Pete Falcone pitched the Giants to a 4-3 victory, thanks in part to a Gary Thomasson homerun, who was the biggest bum in the world as far as my dad was concerned. He didn't know what to do when Thomasson went yard - "Like watching your mother-in-law drive over a cliff in your new car," he muttered. There were fewer than 2,000 fans in attendance that night at the ‘Stick, and probably fewer than 500 by the 7th inning, as it had to be 40 degrees with a howling wind. But we were not leaving early, despite the protestations of my mom and my sisters. And we were aptly rewarded shortly thereafter, when the public address announcer advised the ever-dwindling crowd that they could pick up comp tickets to another game at the box office. We picked up five for fan appreciation day, which the Giants won 2-1 against the Padres, thanks to the pitching of John "The Count" Montefusco. Gary Thomasson went 0-4 (BUM!!!).

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Pick & Droll for today: The NBA draft is only two weeks away. Predict the first seven picks. For example:

1. Cleveland - Nerlens Noel

2. Orlando - Ben McLemore

3. Washington - Anthony Bennett

4. Charlotte - Alex Len

5. Phoenix - Victor Oladipo

6. New Orleans - Otto Porter

7. Cody Zeller - Sacramento

OK, here's my "logic." Washington throws everything into a tizzy when they pass on the local small forward everyone thinks they are going to take (Porter) and draft the stretch four that John Wall has been campaigning for. Charlotte and Phoenix prefer their picks to Porter, so the consensus here starts getting very excited, as we are assured of either Porter or Trey Burke. But the Pelicans snap up Porter, and then the Kings shock us all by taking Zeller, and the impending draft thread is the official end of the new ownership honeymoon period (or at the very least, it is the first lover's quarrel).

Your turn - mock the thread!

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Remember, you can send your questions or topic ideas to asksactownroyalty@gmail.com. And, as always, threadjacking is allowed and encouraged.

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