The Spurs have been better when Tre Jones is on the court, but he’s not complaining about being moved to a reserve role after starting last season, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Coach Gregg Popovich has opted for a non-traditional approach, starting Jeremy Sochan at point guard to create a super-sized lineup.
“I try to view it as, I see how our starting lineup is and how much height and length we have all around the court with that starting lineup,” Jones said. “I see the advantages it gives our team. It’s not hard feelings or anything about that. I’m trying to just be a spark off the bench for us. I’m trying to be a leader for us off the bench as well.”
Jones has been effective in his role off the bench, averaging 8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 25.8 minutes per night through eight games. With the addition of Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio has a chance to be successful for the first time in Jones’ four seasons with the team, and he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to be part of that. Jones described the 7’4″ rookie as a “cheat code” and said he has changed the trajectory of the franchise.
“Very exciting times for our organization,” Jones said. “You can definitely feel a shift through the organization the last couple of years. You can feel it throughout the entire city even. Our city backs us up so much and supports us so much. You can feel that tremendously throughout all the people you run into, all the fans, everyone working for us in the organization, you can feel it all.”
There’s more on the Spurs:
- Wembanyama is making a difference with 2.4 blocks per game, but the Spurs still have one of the league’s worst defenses, notes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Going into Wednesday’s game, San Antonio had a defensive rating of 110.9 during Wembanyama’s minutes, but it rises to 129.4 when he’s resting. “Size can translate into blocked shots, more rebounding, and that overall helps your defense,” Popovich said. “Length helps you with deflections and that sort of thing, keeping people out of the paint. So it’s been the emphasis since the beginning of training camp that we would behoove ourselves to improve defensively.”
- Devin Vassell was limited to 12 minutes Wednesday in his return after missing two games with an adductor injury, Lopez tweets. Popovich said Vassell didn’t reaggravate the condition, but he’s being eased back into his regular role. San Antonio lost by 21 points in New York, so there was no need for Vassell to play extended minutes in the fourth quarter.
- In a special report for ESPN, Leonard Solms examines the journey of Emmanuel Mavomo, who has become an assistant coach with the Spurs’ G League team in Austin after starting in the Basketball Africa League.