The Spurs are more concerned with developing their young players than maximizing their lottery odds, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. Some fans may have been dismayed to see back-to-back wins this week or Devin Vassell‘s return after missing two months following knee surgery, but the organization is committed to getting its young players on the court together to build a foundation for the future.
“I am not trying to tank,” Vassell said. “I am trying to win as many games as possible.”
Vassell is one of five recent first-round picks on the roster, and the Spurs want him to become a clutch-time scorer who’s capable of closing out games. He showed some of that prowess in his return Thursday against Indiana, pouring in 10 points in the third quarter as San Antonio pulled away.
“The shot-making is still there obviously,” assistant coach Mitch Johnson said. “It’s tough in this league when teams have guys that can make shots when there is good defense and there is not really anything going offensively, and he did that for us.”
There’s more from San Antonio:
- Malaki Branham had a breakthrough in February, leading all NBA rookies by averaging 16.8 points per game, Orsborn adds. The 19-year-old small forward hadn’t topped 7.8 PPG in any other month. “It’s a tribute to him and a lot of the young guys in this program,” Johnson said. “If they trust the process and put in the work, at some point the game usually slows down for them and they find some success.”
- Devonte’ Graham has been given a green light to shoot since the Spurs acquired him at the trade deadline, and he took advantage Saturday with 28 points in 29 minutes, Orsborn notes in another Express-News article. “As an athlete, you always want opportunity to show you have talent and whatever the case might be,” Graham said. “(Coach Gregg Popovich) gives everybody confidence to just go out and play freely and play the right way.”
- Charles Bassey has been excelling as the primary backup center since Jakob Poeltl was traded, Orsborn tweets. Bassey had 14 points and eight rebounds Saturday night and tied a career high by making seven shots from the field.
10 thoughts on “Spurs Notes: Vassell, Branham, Graham, Bassey”
I think Spurs will win the Victor lottery asking as they don’t win a bunch of games at the end of the season.
They would be a perfect landing spot for him, without a standout centre in their rebuild. Their history of successful big men. None more so than Tim Duncan there to help coach him. Coach Pop going into the hall of fame.
I’d get a point guard in FA, play him with Vassell, Johnson, Sochan and Victor that’s your starting 5. Branham as the 6th man, with Jones or Graham, Zach Collins and Charles Bassey as your back up bigs. Nice little team they’d have
If Spurs get wemby what is their ceiling in year 1?
As far as a ceiling, realistically 8/9th max.
I think they finish near the back end of the play in or just outside the play in spots.
Still so many good teams in the west
GSW, both LA sides, Denver, Dallas, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento. That’s 9 sides all going for playoff spots and a playoff run and yes the spurs will be also be apart of that group but they won’t have the experience among the players. So yeah 8/9/10/11 range
That’s why I think they should invest in some experience at the point guard spot to help guys get good looks and develop well. Jones strikes me as a good back up and Graham as just a shooter. Think they could just do with a leader, be it like Reggie Jackson or Pat Beverly. I think Bevs attitude could be a big negative factor and would lean to Reggie who’s not really all that, but he’s a leader, he’s experienced and he can help get the young guys playing better.
Can’t disagree with that only wrinkle is whether there is urgency with a Pop timeline
Not to say the NBA draft lottery is rigged but if it is they should give the Spurs Victor as they need a centre for their rebuild and the worst team by record, the rockets don’t need that. They could really do with Scoot Henderson who along with Jalen Green would be a really really good young backcourt and set them up so well in the future. Victor is probably the consensus better player but he wouldn’t be a good fit in Houston. With two selfish guards that won’t create great looks for him and he and Sengun would be a odd fit because of their similar game.
So all I’m saying is if they were to rig it this would be the year to give Victor to San Antonio and Scoot to Houston. From there who cares, Orlando could do with Victor, they have a history of skilled young centres but they just got Paolo can’t be giving them another 1st overall choice. Charlotte would be a reach from like the 4th best odds, plus they have centres in Mark Williams and Nick Richards. Ball and Victor would 100% have eyes on them but I don’t think it would translate into wins.
I think you have an 86% chance of being wrong here
The SAS FO is ONLY concerned with tanking. What was the last move they made designed to win?
Of course, the players aren’t actually trying to lose, on the SAS or any other team. If that’s all tanking is, then nobody has ever tanked.
Of course they are not concerned, they already have the maximum lottery odds and no chance mathematically to have worse odds…
There is that too Steve, but why spoil a good story !
Just stay in the bottom 3 spurs