As the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team prepares to play in Las Vegas from July 12-22, there will be opportunities for some young veteran Spurs players to showcase some different aspects of their games that they usually don’t have time to do during the regular season.
Three such players are Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, and Aron Baynes. Summer League head coach Ime Udoka spoke of how the three Spurs players have opportunities to show the coaching staff how they can be productive in different roles as the 2013-2014 season approaches.
“Obviously we’ve got some guys we want to take a look at,” said Udoka Wednesday, “see them in different roles, in different aspects.”
“I’ll give them different looks than they might not get during the season,” continued Udoka of the three Spurs players who were on the NBA Finals roster.
For Joseph, the word leadership was mentioned from both Udoka and Joseph himself. Udoka also said the Spurs want to see Joseph increase his scoring opportunities and dig into opponents on defense.
Joseph also said he still feels the constant pressure of holding the backup point guard spot since De Colo and Patty Mills will continue to compete with him for the role in the coming season.
In De Colo’s case, Udoka said the Spurs would like to see De Colo play off of the ball at the shooting guard position. Even Joseph said he’s ready to share time with De Colo in the backcourt together.
“Whoever gets the ball, we’ll just carry it up,” said Joseph of playing with De Colo. “We can both run the one and two spots.”
As for Baynes, Udoka said the Spurs just want to see what he can do with possessions he didn’t get last season in being a featured option.
“We’ll see overall what he does overall with the skill set that he has,” said Udoka of Baynes.
Another player who spoke Wednesday was the Spurs’ 58th second round draft pick Deshaun Thomas. On the basketball court, Udoka said the Spurs want to see how Thomas will play out on the wing.
“We want to get a look at him at the three as well,” said Udoka of Thomas. “In college he played a lot at the four.”
Thomas said he’s excited to be in the Spurs’ camp and said his goal is to play hard, play defense, and play within the pace of the offense while he’s in Las Vegas. Thomas said one of his main goals is to just be consistent in his time on the floor.
What is surprising is that on draft night, Thomas said he and his family were wearing grey and black clothing throughout the night when the Spurs called his name; he looked around and noticed he was already wearing the Spurs’ colors.
As for the infamous phone number incident with Thomas, he said Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford did call him on draft night and Buford was able to get a hold of Thomas’ phone number through his agent.
From the comments Udoka made, it seems like the Spurs are approaching Summer League as they did last season with Kawhi Leonard. Then, the Spurs used the Summer League opportunities to let Leonard develop his offensive game in running plays, mainly the pick-and-roll. So, expect a lot of different offensive opportunities from Joseph, De Colo, and Baynes.
“I’ve got orders to see what certain guys can do at certain positions,” said Udoka. “I told Nando, Baynes, and Cory to stay in shape and be ready for these opportunities.”
For Udoka he knows his role next season will change as an assistant coach with Mike Budenholzer taking the head-coaching job with the Atlanta Hawks. He said he and the other Spurs assistant coaches will have to pick up the responsibilities Budenholzer held.
Summer League Practice Notes
- Spurs guard Patty Mills was in the gym shooting free throws with De Colo. He won’t be playing with the summer league team, but it’s a sign he’s healing from his foot injury that he had to have surgery for during the NBA Finals.
- Udoka said he still feels the “sting” of losing in the Finals but with Summer League keeping him busy, he’s been able to stay focused on the coming season.
We are all just getting excited that's all ! Udoka has his directions to carry out. It's Pop's agenda remember? Main guys will have their time to expand on their games. D. Thomas will have his hands full trying to keep up with athletic 3's. Interested to see Richards? Sure. He has some athleticism and length. Alongside Baynes at the 4, let's see if Ryan can play weakside offense and weakside defense. If he does show some workable stuff, he might earn 15th spot depending how things shake out. I believe Nando has the most to gain here running at the 2, then Baynes, then Richards imo. I think Cory will give way to Denmon after first 2 games maybe to see if he has some game. .
Have no idea what the final Spurs roster will look like. Usually we do all this debating over the summer league, and NO ONE ends making the team. Don't know we keep drafting all these guards, when the 3 and 4 positions have been our areas of real need. Anxious to see if any of these guys distinguish themselves, CuJo impressed me in the playoffs; I wanted to see more of him in the NBA finals, instead of too much Manu. We probably get overly excited over front court prospects, because we absolutely KNOW the ceiling for Blair, Bonner and Splitter to some degree. Let's see what happens.
ChrisCano and MOlsen are examples of the Spurs fans that everyone hates; they don't know what they're talking about and they criticize every idea. I'm sorry; if you don't like Richards or Oden, who should the final spot go to? Also, there's no way you can criticize Richards when I'm sure you have seen nothing but a few youtube highlights of him and a few team situations that you know nothing about. No one has said anything close to him being the second coming of Duncan; they just think he's good for that final 15th spot.
@spurs123Your right what was i thinking Oden, wow all he has done in his 82 games over 5 years. And Richards who couldnt cut it on a polish team to go play for a sup par league...Yes most NBA superstars take that very rout...
You guys crack me up, forget the fact that teams are going to start waiving and amnestying bad contracts, lets push or hope for a solid NBA player that wants to win a title.....ummmm kinda like Diaw or Finley did for the spurs...FYI your goofy spurs fans give the spurs a bad name
@ChrisCano @spurs123 So apparently the 15th man on the roster has to be a superstar? Can you read? Nobody has ever said that. The 15th spot isn't going to play in the playoffs anyways so it doesn't matter, and you seem to have this completely unrealistic belief that there is a fantastic player in the free agency right now that the Spurs can afford.
@ChrisCano @spurs123 Are you aware of the Spurs' financial situation??? There is literally no way the Spurs could sign a guy with a contract like Michael Finley had or Boris Diaw has. Not to mention that Finley has been considered to be one of the worst Spurs in the Duncan era aside from one good game against the Mavericks and Diaw has major flaws in his game. These players in the free agency that you imagine will be out there simply don't exist, as much as you would like them to. Not to mention the fact that almost no one is going to use the amnesty clause this season...
@spurs123 I guess you dont know how the spurs ended up with Micheal Finley and Borris Diaw. The new CBA will cause a team to start dumping salaries real soon when trades don't work out and many NBA teams have too many bad contracts with decent players and Metta wont be the only decent player out their getting waived...but you still keep worrying about players out there right now we still have too much time before that happens it is only the start of free agent period...but focu on the free agent list and worry about when we get oden...
@ChrisCano @spurs123 You STILL haven't listed a single player and your entire argument now is just that you think I am stupid. You realize the players the Spurs have signed from the free agency the past few years are guys like Brent Barry, Roger Mason Jr., and Kurt Thomas, right? There is no "decent" player that will be waived that will want to sign with the Spurs (not to mention there isn't going to be a good player from a team that will be waived at all). You literally have no clue what you're talking about if you actually paid attention to a free agency period before.
@spurs123you really are stupid, tons of NBA players that want to win a ring once they get waived from a bad contract will sign a contact for less money to put them selves in a postion to win a title..so if you use an expression you think im talking about magic...
Idiot i see why you put 123 in your name you wanted to show off to every one how high you can count
@spurs123 Ok let do this real slow so you can keep up, in the next few days teams will start to use there amnesty clause and start waiving players. I said hopefully the front office can get one of those players that want to win a title. None of those players are a current free agent and spurs can use there amnesty on Bonner if they could make magic happen. Now that scenario is more realistic then Oden playing a full season or Ryan Richards ever making a roster.
@ChrisCano And can you honestly name 5 "decent" free agents left?
@spurs123 you really are stupid, it means you sign a decent player wanting to win a title and the Patty mills or nando will be the 15th best player on the roster...why do you think the conditions on the first round stay in Europe they want a great 15 players on the roster. You don't sign a player to fill a last spot at this time of the year.
Lots of interesting sub stories outside our regular team starters as well. Can Thomas defend against atheltic wings and play offense within the flow of our system? Can Denmon be the smart, efficient player he was before his injury? Has his ball handling and play making improved? And where is Ryan Richards at developmentally? Is this guys a part of our future plans and if so, how are we going to develop him best from here? If he is not part of our plans - then let him move on to a longer term contract and role in Europe. I'm also interested in seeing what Dexter Pittman and Hollis Thompson bring to the table. Along with Joseph, Baynes and Nando all trying to carve out a name/role for themselves - should be a fun summer league hit out!
Got to agree with @zerospurs he's the midde guy... maybe not hoping but having a forward that can be beside Baynes and or Tiago... along side Tim doesn't have to be the second coming ... just learn from him.
btw... what happens if Greg Oden comes... having Richards/Oden/Baynes/Tiago... on a roster?
Ummmm who ever said richards was the second coming of td? I sure as hell didnt. I said that i want to see him play and that im interested if he can play against better competition.
i will have a keen eye on ryan richards, hes the primary guy im looking at. then baynes, colo, joseph, deshaun thomas and then denmon.
@zerospurs Folks. Stop. Ryan Richards is NOT the second coming of Tim Ducan, David Robinson, or George Gervin. These are unrealistic expectations that you are placing on the guy. Richards is Brit who doesn't really know how to play basketball, and who is struggling to find his way in the basketball world. He does have some size. If he turns out to be something, fine, but there is a much greater probability that he never plays a single game in the NBA regular season ... which is something that Baynes, DeColo, and Joseph have already done.