Nikola Milutinov has been drafted with the No. 26 pick by the San Antonio Spurs. The Serbian is the third European player selected in the draft so far. The 7-footer with a wingspan of 7'3 will be a work in progress in the NBA, but showed flashes of brilliance in European play.
The mobile big man made a living playing in Serbia by being one of the most mobile big men in the league. He runs the court and has great footwork down low, but he can also shoot spot-up jumpers. He's a great scorer in the paint, with the ability to finish with his right or left hand on hook shots and lay-ins. Defensively, his speed should translate to guarding stretch fours well and his wingspan makes it tough to get a shot off.
At 225 pounds, Milutinov will need to bulk up in order to bang in the paint with the NBA's stronger big men. This could help with his rebounding ability, which isn't as strong as it should be considering his length and size. Miutinov may not be ready for big minutes in the NBA right away, but with his size and offensive ability, he could be a valuable asset in the future.
It's always anticlimactic when a team selects a player that won't likely suit up for them for at least a couple of years but considering the talent available when they picked and the situation regarding the upcoming free agency period, drafting Milutinov is far from a bad decision.
The Spurs have made a habit of picking foreign prospects and stashing them overseas over the years:
The Spurs have now taken at least one foreign prospect in 14 of the last 17 NBA Drafts. https://t.co/MmnJX1ZTlG— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) June 26, 2015
And Milutinov, the sort of tall player who could fill a Spurs frontcourt that will theoretically eventually be without Tim Duncan, fits that mold just about perfectly. If he is stashed, which is likely, the move will also save money for the Spurs, who are expected to pursue native Texan LaMarcus Aldridge and other big names in free agency.