Southwest Notes: Branham, Adams, Brunson

Spurs rookie small forward Malaki Branham, the No. 20 pick in the 2022 draft out of Ohio State, is finding other ways to contribute to San Antonio while mired in a scoring slump, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.

“He’s going to be really good,” San Antonio guard Devin Vassell said. “I played with him a lot during the summer. I’ve seen the way he can play… As long as we instill confidence in him, he’s going to be fine.”

The 6’5″ swingman, 19, is averaging 5.0 PPG on .327/.250/.750 shooting splits, 1.8 APG, and 1.5 RPG across 16.3 MPG for the Spurs.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The 13-9 Grizzlies are reaping the benefits of defensive enforcer Steven Adams, recently inked to an extension with the club, as he does battle against top opposing centers, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I feel like that’s what makes (Adams) so great for us all around,” All-Star Memphis point guard Ja Morant said of the 6’11” vet. “Him taking on that challenge to guard the best bigs—being able to limit them and make their shots tough as possible… He’s a big piece to our team, and we’re definitely thankful for him.”
  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd suggests that Dallas players have felt the absence of now-Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson off the court as much as on it, per Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). “You can ask Josh [Green] and [Dwight Powell] and Maxi [Kleber], those guys in that locker room, when things weren’t going well, he was always someone that’s a calming voice to be positive and try to help you out of a slump,” Kidd said.
  • In case you missed it, Mavericks president Nico Harrison recently discussed the addition of Kemba Walker, the departure of Brunson, and more.
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