Cory Joseph wasn't supposed to be in the playoff rotation. A call up from the D-League's Austin Toros, Joseph was supposed to fill in for the team during injuries to Tony Parker, Gary Neal, and sometimes Manu Ginobili.
The San Antonio Spurs had more than enough of a surplus with Neal, Nando De Colo, and Patty Mills fighting for minutes in one position for backup point guard.
Fast forward to Game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs and Cory Joseph has cracked the rotation over De Colo and Mills and head coach Gregg Popovich's reasoning is simple enough on why the Austin Toros call up has made it this far.
"Cory did a good job defensively. He was solid. He didn't make mistakes," Popovich explained postgame. "He got us into offense. He made a couple of shots, but his defense was very solid and that's what we want him to do."
As Popovich commented after the first game against the Los Angeles Lakers in a best of seven series, Joseph did what was asked of him and wasn't given anything. He earned his time out there, especially when he was seen as the guy least to win the backup point spot.
Joseph has not only earned the spot, but he's also going far and beyond what has been asked of any point guard in recent Spurs history. Cory scored 4 points (2-4 shooting) in 11 minutes, but the box score didn't do justice to his contributions in that game. The 6'3" Joseph did what was asked of him, even if it meant trying to defend a 6'9" power forward in Antawn Jamison.
When Joseph wasn't battling in the paint against a guy 6 inches taller than him, he was keeping the offense in control throughout the game when he was on the court. His game as a whole is full of intangibles that we may have not seen from those behind him at the backup position, including the taller point guards he has beaten out for the position.
For this being Joseph's first playoff series and having a big role in it too, he's definitely been impressing everyone watching. He's not only impressed, but he's also earned every minute he was out there and will be out there going forward.
What do you think Spurs fans? Has Cory Joseph earned the backup point guard spot or should another player take the spot?
I'm glad Spurs have a true point guard backing up Parker. He has looked good. Looked like he put on some muscle since last year. All of the Spurs perimeter players will have their hands full the next the next round,
I'm extremely proud of my Lil' Cuz for the hard work and dedication he has put into not only getting called back up to the Spurs but the effort and commitment to becoming an integral part of what the Spurs are trying to achieve in the playoffs. His tenacity on defense and attention to detail on offense is great. It's inspiring and amazing to see his maturation and development. We are very proud of you Cory. Kev Joseph
Wow. If Joseph can play as well as he did againts the Lakers through out the playoffs, they have a chance to make it to the WCF. At this time, Joseph played a particular role against a certain type of a team. I'm sure when the match up is right, Nando will get a chance to play. Mills is all offense no defense, so he really cannot play side by side with Neal, who is not a true point guard and another who cannot play defense, but can play the point guard positon while Manu is playing 2 guard and bringing the ball up the court.
So ironic to see Cory taking a backup role in the playoffs when just two summers ago, people were crying favoritism and nepotism because of RC Buford's personal connections to UT and Joseph. Shows those people how much they know.
Cory has a defense knack about him that Patty and Nando just don't. While I love Patty's energy at the defensive end and Nando's size, Cory just seems to be in the right place at the right time more often than not. That's also not to mention Cory blazing quickness. I forgot which game it was that Cory went coast-to-coast in under 3-4 seconds for a buzzer-beater layup. He is FAST.
I think Cory can only get better. He's doing exactly what he's been doing over the last 3 years with the canadian national team, the D league, and the summer league. He also has the potential to get better as his confidence grows and that is exactly what we need coupled with his superior laterial quickness, higher rebounding ability for his size, and very good ball handling. His mother and father played ball professional and his brothers play as well.
It's weird that Pop use Joseph instead of Mills, who is a much proven player and talented. My guess is that if Mills plays great in the Playoffs like he did occasionally in the regular season then he will ask more money or leaving, which is the Spurs don't want to see.
I said that when he was first called up that he was the future of the spurs...Nando just doesnt have the skill set on both sides of the ball to be a starting PG in the NBA...Everyone was upset adn said i was dumb but here we go into the playoffs with Joseph
I think he is young and has plenty of time to really get rocking and rolling, but from what i've seen. I love this kid!
I it makes me sad to see Patty sitting the bench though.
@Spekkio How can you be sad while watching him wave his towel.
@Joe_Cool I just like the guy. He plays with a lot of energy and always seems to be in the best of moods. Good idea or not, I want to see a guy like that get a minute or two now and then lol.
And yes, I know hes short... but that little bugger is quick!