Southwest Notes: Cissoko, Spurs, Zion, Griffin, Rockets

No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama has understandably drawn much of the attention in San Antonio, but fellow Spurs rookie Sidy Cissoko has been impressive in Summer League as well, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link).

The young French forward was the 44th overall pick of last month’s draft and isn’t known as a top scorer, but he knows he can still impact the game.

I know I am a rookie and a second-round pick, so I know I won’t get 20 shots a game,” he said. “I am just trying to do my best with my defense and try to help the team in other ways. I know my role. I know what to do.”

At 6’7″ and 225 pounds, the 19-year-old can be a real deterrent defensively, according to Orsborn, and he’s also a creative play-maker. Cissoko averaged 12.8 points, 3.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 block on .457/.304/.645 shooting in 28 games last season with the G League Ignite (29.3 minutes).

I just try to help the team first with my defense,” Cissoko added. “You can get minutes playing defense. When you play defense, the offense will come along.”

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • The Spurs are contemplating building a new arena in downtown San Antonio in order to showcase Wembanyama, sources tell Greg Jefferson and Madison Iszler of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). As the two writers detail, the Spurs’ lease on their current arena, the AT&T Center, expires in 2032. However, it needs renovations and there’s belief that a downtown arena would generate revenue for the county, though it would also leave the current arena vacant. The Holt family owns the Spurs, and it also owns a stake in the San Antonio Missions, a Double-A baseball team. The idea would be to put a potential new stadium for the Missions next to the Spurs’, with bars surrounding both, according to The Express-News.
  • Top Pelicans executive David Griffin is hopeful Zion Williamson is on the right track this summer after being plagued with injuries over his first four seasons, according to Steve Bulpett of “I think first of all he’s trying to do the right things,” Griffin said. “I think when you start from that place, that’s good. He’s got incredible potential to be sort of game-changing for even the league as a whole. But at the same time the volatility around the injury situation has been really severe. So at this point it’s going to be a function of how can we get him in the best place to succeed, and what’s he willing to do to ensure that happens? And I think right now his head’s in the right place, and we’ll just have to hope for the best.” Griffin also discussed the team’s offseason moves, among other topics.
  • The Clippers recently acquired Kenyon Martin Jr. in a trade with the Rockets, and he had nothing but good things to say about his time in Houston in a thank you message on Twitter.
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