Pick 49: Rather than go down their best-player-available route, the Spurs chose their other tack and decided to draft and stash a random athletic foreigner. This particular random athletic foreigner happens to be an Englishman, Ryan Richards.
This is another reason why all potential draftees should be forced to attend the draft. Had they done so, Richards could have danced bracingly to the stage and saluted Adam Silver, all whilst wearing sunglasses, to remind the world than the Sun never sets on the British Empire. Rule Britannia.
(Once a year, we get together and sing about how brilliant we are. There's nothing wrong with it whatsoever. At least we don't do it two thirds of the way through every baseball game. And at least this wasn't a Wiggles video.)
Richards is highly underdeveloped, but he's in the Gran Canaria youth system. And as evidenced by his countryman and fellow draftee Joel Freeland before him, that's a fine place for any young player to develop. Lefty Richards can't do much at this point outside of his athleticism, but he has a good jumpshot, and sports NBA athleticism in a school of fundmentals. It's a pleasing combination for the future, and even if his NBA career is ultimately only equal to that of Ian Mahinmi, is that so bad from a 49th pick?
Naturally, Fran Frascilla loves the pick, and loves the person who made it. Fran also uses Richards's selection to take the night's second unprovoked potshot at O'Bryant, claiming that Richards "is not Patrick Ewing, but he's also not Patrick O'Bryant." Two punches to the scrote in such quick succession. POB is down and he is hurt.
As a fellow Englishman, expect to hear lots more about this man down the road.
- Richards has not played this season, as he is recovering from two shoulder surgeries. He is also not attached to any particular club at the moment, yet has been with the Spurs, working out at their facilities. Richards is considerably short of experience, but not talent - a tall and very athletic lefty, he has a jumpshot to go with that, a more than sound combination to build around. It's going to take a while, but the Spurs own their own D-League affiliate for a reason.
The picture is of a different Ryan Richards.
Chances of making the NBA expressed as an arbitrary percentage: 100% that he signs in it, slightly less than that that he ever actually plays in it, lesser still that he sticks in it.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.