21. Malik Rose
Malik Rose will never stand out as an elite player in San Antonio Spurs history. He had just one season of double-digit points and played a role on some very good-to-great Spurs teams, but was effective at his job and contributed toward championships.
Rose’s run with the Spurs dates back to 1997-98, when he signed after the 1996-97 season. He provided forward depth near the end of the bench, and didn’t see much time — even in the 1999 title-winning season.
By the 1999-00 season, Rose’s usage increased. He played 74 games and became a full-time role player, spelling Tim Duncan at power forward. A solid 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds were produced, an average that remained similar until the 2002-03 season.
In the noted year, Rose had what turned out to be his best season. He averaged 10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and started 13 games. It was contributions toward the team’s second championship.
For the next one-and-a-half seasons, Rose continued as a role player, before getting moved near the 2005 NBA Trade Deadline for a package that included Nazr Mohammed (via trade with the New York Knicks). That year’s Spurs won the title, so Rose barely missed a third ring.
Rose played parts of eight, effective seasons on the Spurs. It won’t get him historical notoriety, but as a consistent player that had a part on the elite early-2000’s teams.
20. John Beasley
The furthest this list of the all-time greatest San Antonio Spurs goes is to the mid-1960’s, during the earliest days of the ABA. That’s when the Dallas Chapparals, who later became the Spurs, roamed the professional basketball landscape.
Maybe the best player to be a Chapparal was John Beasley, a 6-foot-9 center/power forward. He was selected in Round 5 of the 1966 NBA Draft, but didn’t make his debut in pro basketball until the 1967-68 season.
For Dallas, Beasley immediately broke out as one of the best players in the ABA. He had 19.7 points and 12.8 rebounds in his rookie season, which earned him an All-Star Game appearance in 1968.
The 1968-69 season saw Beasley keep the production steady. He averaged 19.3 points and 10.6 rebounds, making a second consecutive All-Star Game. The same was down in 1969-70.
At age 26 in the 1970-71 season, Beasley saw his numbers begin to dip. No longer was he a double-double player, but one that quickly became a bench player. This happened after a midseason trade with the Utah Stars in 1971-72, and never saw the Texas A&M product return to normal.
19. Vinny Del Negro
Vinny Del Negro will be known by modern-day NBA fans as a head coach who didn’t last with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers. He was succeeded by Tom Thibodeau and Doc Rivers, respectively.
However, through the 1990’s, Del Negro was a decent basketball player, making a name for himself on the San Antonio Spurs. He did this from 1992-98.
Del Negro stepped in at shooting guard for the 1990’s Spurs, aligning with David Robinson, Sean Elliott, and Avery Johnson. Next to them, he played his shooting guard role up to par, by hitting 36 percent of his shots from behind the arc, including 40 percent of them in the 1994-95 season.
In 1995-96, Del Negro had a career-high 49.7 percent shooting percentage and 14.5 points per game. It was in a peak year at age 29, and provided him these numbers in a 59-23 season.
Unfortunately for Del Negro, he missed the Spurs’ 1999 championship season. He left for the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency and immediately fell into a bench role for the rest of his NBA career.
Del Nego played a steady role on some of San Antonio’s top teams of the 1990’s. He scored, dished out some assists and became an important player for a handful of years.