A first-round pick in the 2019 draft, Spurs forward Keldon Johnson spent most of his rookie season in the G League, having appeared in just nine games at the NBA level so far. As Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News details, Johnson was likely in line for more minutes – and a more regular role – down the stretch if the season hadn’t been suspended and was disappointed not to get that opportunity. Still, he didn’t mind the team taking it slow with him over the course of the year.
“You’ve got to earn your stripes here,” Johnson said, per Orsborn. “You’ve got to put in the time, put in the work. It’s a long process, a grind. But for me, it’s always been about looking at the bigger picture. I knew as long as I stayed focused and stayed level-headed and continued to work hard, the Spurs had a plan for me.”
In addition to attempting to stay ready for a potential resumption of the season, Johnson has been staying busy by reaching out to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Orsborn details. The Spurs’ rookie launched his “Keldon Kares” campaign last week to raise money for food banks in San Antonio and his hometown of South Hill, Virginia.
Here’s more from around the Southwest:
- Justise Winslow has yet to make his debut for the Grizzlies after being acquired by Memphis at the trade deadline, but he tells Michael Wallace of Grind City Media in a Q&A that he hopes the NBA is able to finish its season so he can help his new team clinch a playoff spot and compete in the postseason.
- Kelly Iko and Danny Leroux of The Athletic explore some free agent options for the Rockets, assessing whether there are will be any available forwards or big men capable of playing the P.J. Tucker role in Houston — making outside shots, guarding bigs, and providing switchability on defense. Unsurprisingly, there likely won’t be many – or any – of those players available at a discount in free agency.
- Although the Mavericks reentered the playoff picture this season, they’re not yet a legit title contender. Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News examines how the club might try to ascend to that level during the 2020 and 2021 free agency periods.