Forward Isaiah Roby has been a fan of the Spurs‘ organization since childhood, reports Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. After the fourth-year power forward was waived by the Thunder over the summer, San Antonio claimed him off waivers.
“[The Spurs] were the team my grandpa really liked watching,” the Dixon, Illinois native said. “… Ever since then, I’ve had an interest in the Spurs and the way they play basketball.”
Roby was initially drafted with the No. 45 pick out of Nebraska by the Pistons. The Mavericks traded for his draft rights later that summer. He suited up for the team’s G League affiliate, the Texas Legends, before being flipped to the Thunder in January 2020. He averaged 10.1 PPG on .514/.444/.672 shooting splits in 45 games during his 2021/22 season with Oklahoma City. The 6’8″ forward also contributed 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.8 BPG.
According to McDonald, Roby was apparently surprised to be waived by the Thunder during the offseason. In San Antonio, he joins another rebuilding effort that features plenty of intriguing young prospects, with presumably more to come in the next few seasons. The Spurs have liked what they’ve seen from Roby so far.
“He is really more skilled than I was expecting, and he’s a little bigger than I expected,” head coach Gregg Popovich observed. “He handles himself really well.”
There’s more out of the Lone Star State:
- Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop is in the running for the last open spot on San Antonio’s standard 15-man roster, having turned in solid performances in two preseason games as a starter, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. McDonald notes that Bates-Diop may start tonight against the Pelicans in the team’s third preseason contest after averaging 9.5 PPG in the first two. “His game improves with every increase in his confidence,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s why he’s still here.” Though Bates-Diop may not ultimately start for the Spurs, McDonald predicts he’ll remain in San Antonio through opening night, thus guaranteeing he gets paid his full $1.9MM salary. “Whether you just signed a new deal or you’re on a one-year or whatever it is, you should always feel like you’re battling for it,” Bates-Diop said. “You don’t want to get too comfortable.”
- The Rockets front office is excited about the fit of 6’9″ fourth-year center Bruno Fernando as a rim-runner, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Iko notes that Fernando becoming a lob threat will open up the downhill offensive games of starting guards Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green.
- Rockets head coach Stephen Silas has yet to clear the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, reports Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston (Twitter link). Berman adds (Twitter link) that assistant coach John Lucas, acting as the team’s head coach while Silas remains ill, has expressed optimism that Silas will clear protocols and be able to travel later to join the team in Miami for its next preseason game.