Spurs Notes: T. Jones, Walker, Popovich, Young

Spurs guard Tre Jones is eager to bounce back from a sprained left ankle that slowed his progress after an outstanding Summer League performance, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Jones had to miss the entire preseason after suffering the injury in training camp, but there’s optimism that he will be ready for Wednesday’s season opener.

A second-round pick in 2020, Jones averaged just 7.3 minutes and 2.5 PPG in the 37 games he played as a rookie. He took a big step forward in Las Vegas, putting up 22.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game, and he hopes to carry that over to the new season.

“It’s only been two weeks, so it’s not that much time in the big scheme of things. but it feels like it’s been forever,” Jones said. “I’m itching to get back out there.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • The Spurs are counting on Lonnie Walker to provide an offensive spark off the bench, Orsborn notes in a separate story. Walker has focused on improving his outside shooting after connecting at a 35.5% clip last season. “(Shooting coach) Chip Engelland has worked with him really well in trying to improve and get confidence in the 3-point shot,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “The last part we want to keep working on is him finding other people. He’s one of the guys on our team that can beat somebody, get into the paint and create, so it gives him an added responsibility finding teammates. That will be his next step.”
  • Rumors have emerged recently that Popovich is contemplating retirement, but he sounds energized by the challenge of coaching a young team, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. With his veteran core gone, the 72-year-old is in a rebuilding role after missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. “A lot of these guys, they had one or two years in college and haven’t had a lot of time to get grounded in the fundamentals and that sort of thing,” Popovich said. “It’s made it a lot of fun to come to work every day and watch these guys wanting to improve, get to know each other and figure out how you have to play to win.”
  • Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News offers predictions for the upcoming season, including a trade of Thaddeus Young and more games in the NBA than the G League for first-round pick Joshua Primo.
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