LAS VEGAS -- Two things stood out for the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team in their debut, a 69-68 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. The guys with NBA experience look good. The guys who aren't have some room to improve, even though one rookie in particular looked extremely comfortable. Neither of these things are surprising, and guys needing improvement isn't exactly a bad thing.
One positive, perhaps the positive, of the game is that Cory Joseph was extra aggressive and extra affective getting his own shot, especially at the rim. He finished with 19 points on 7 of 14 shooting. He also hit the game winner with under five seconds to play after the Bobcats briefly took the lead on a Jeff Taylor three-pointer. The most impressive part of Joseph's game was often times he was finishing against either Bismack Biyombo or Cody Zeller, two NBA rotation big men at worst (Biyombo already an upper echelon shot blocker).
While Joseph was the primary ball handler when he was on the floor, Nando De Colo spent much of his time working off the ball, coming around screens looking for his own shot. It's just one game, but you have to wonder if the spending so much time off the ball could signal a sea change with De Colo's role on the team. Or it could just mean the Spurs would like to see how he plays working off the ball. He looked good, scoring 12 points and dishing out three assists.
2nd round draft pick Deshaun Thomas also started for the Summer League Spurs and was aggressive in looking for his own shot from anywhere on the court. He started off missing his first three shots but then sank his next three. The question on draft night was whether Thomas would be a 3 or 4 in the league. He started and played much of the game as the "stretch 4," finishing with 18 points on 7/13 shooting. While playing the four helped his offensive game, he looked overwhelmed on defense at times. Whether he sees more time on the wing as the week carries on.
Ryan Richards was the first big man off the bench and he was solid but unspectacular. He sank his first, which was an off balance jumper with the shot clock winding down. He missed his next four attempts, but shot with confidence and good form. His most impressive play came in the second quarter when he faked a corner jumper, drove to the lane and dished it off to a diving Aron Baynes. His mobility also showed on help defense, where he was able to sag off Bismack Biyombo and recover in time to prevent him from diving to the basket.
The Spurs next game is Sunday against the Toronto Raptors at 9:30 PM. Central time.
Cory was penetrating and that is what we wanted to see. Stronger and more confident. Nando was pretty good. I liked Baynes he was very rugged and not forcing shots too much. Thomas looked quite comfortable scoring and he needs to work on his defense and his body to chase 3's instead of fours. Richards looked thicker and confident. His shot will fall if he calms down some. Thompson was interesting. I wanna see Pitman.
I like how Baynes looked last night...They weren't looking for him too much offensively,but he controled our paint od the defensive end.He had 8 boards,was +/- +10 and nobody scored easily against him,which is all we need coming forward. ;)
Cory Joseph looked good last night in leading the team with poise. Nando looked good offensively and handed out some nice assists. Thomas was impressive to me. He was being guarded by Cody Zeller for long stretches and showed great versatility in his game. A few times he successfully boxed him out to grab a defensive rebound. He scored from everywhere it seemed hitting pull up jumpers in the face of wing defenders, going 2-4 from three, and even driving to the hole off the dribble a few times. He drew a couple fouls on Zeller with two drives and pump faked a wing defender and drove the lane for a layup on another occasion. He has a quick trigger with his shot which helps him score over people.
Good start. I know it is summer league, but this Bobcats squad features some NBA talent. CuJo continues to show development in his game control, leadership and poise. Turnovers are the key for him now I think. Thomas showed his offensive versatility and we could really use that - especially down the road. Questions about defense remain of course, but so far he is looking like a great value pick for us. Can't quite get my head around our plans with Nando - but by showcasing his versatility we're keeping our options open. Baynes looks double tough. Thought Pittman looked leaner too! Interesting day all round. Roll on game 2.
pretty much a good sign with everyone i was looking at except for ryan richards. hes the type of big the spurs really need but his lack of big time experience shows, even against good but not great competition in the summer league. he really needs to show improvement or he will be the next ian mihinmi, a guy who was a project with the spurs and a solid rotation player with other teams. or, he will be the guy that had so much talent but never figured it out, joseph, baynes, nando and thomas all played well. denmon needs to play better
@BlazingDeath Game was on NBA TV for sure bc I watched there.Miller and Kerr were commentators.
@dtootall NBA.com should have game highlights up by now.