San Antonio Spurs fans have watched closely as Cory Joseph led the Canadian National Team through the first round of the FIBA Americas Championship before Canada hit a few bumps in the road in the second round that eventually led to them losing out on a bid to the World Cup in Spain next summer.
Joseph looked impressive and appeared to continually progress after a nice Finals run, followed by him leading the Spurs summer league squad in Vegas.
Another player that has watched plenty of Joseph was right there with Joseph in Caracas as one of the city of San Antonio’s other representatives.
Orlando Mendez-Valdez, a San Antonio native and Lanier High School graduate is currently starting at shooting guard for the Mexican National Team that has surprised many, especially considering they didn’t qualify for the FIBA Americas Championship and replaced Panama, who was banned from international play this summer.
Mendez-Valdez, who naturally followed the Spurs growing up in San Antonio, had a chance to play against and defend Joseph in the first game of the second round of the tournament and gave me his thoughts on the young point guard after Mexico’s loss to Canada.
“I thought he did a good job of controlling the tempo of the game,” Mendez-Valdez said. “He was smart in his decision making offensively, he did a bit of everything.”
Joseph, who had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a well-rounded effort Mendez-Valdez spoke of, had a bit of a coming out party during the tournament before Canada’s run ended.
Mendez-Valdez, who paced Mexico with 23 points, hopes Joseph’s success continues on into his next season with the Spurs.
“I hope this helps him have a breakout season this upcoming year. Canada did a good job sharing the ball, passing up good shots for great shots,” he said.
Joseph and Mendez-Valdez, who share a common tie to San Antonio, have been among a group of impressive guards in Caracas.
Joseph averaged 16.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists while Mendez-Valdez is averaging 14.4 points, 2.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 55.9 percent from long range.
Mendez-Valdez and Hawks big man Gustavo Ayon will lead Mexico in their semifinal match against Luis Scola and Argentina today.
This is encouraging news. As the old San Antonio basketball saying goes: " Orlando Mendez-Valdez.: 60 % of the time he's right 100% of the time...." In some Latin American countries it's said "If you win the respect of Orlando Mendez-Valdez you have won the respect of the NBA gods."
I'm not saying these sayings make sense. I am saying, I politely disagree with Orlando Mendez-Valdez. I'd like to see more of Patty Mills as well. CoJo doesn't do it for me. I don't trust him to drive the bus in pressure. Which is of course why the Spurs will bring in a vet pg to play backup.
I know this because Orlando Mendez-Valdez told me.
I hope Patty can have more impact this coming season. CoJo already has Pop's favor with his defense, passing, and offense management style that he already has shown a little during last year's season and playoffs. Patty is more of a gunner. Shoot first and ask questions later type at this point. No doubt he did great in international play for his country, but he had the keys and the steering wheel to their bus. He will not have that kind of opportunity with Spurs in my opinion with that style. In any case, I hope they both develop, but it is obvious PATFO are looking for a veteran point guard to backup TP who can drive into the lane and create. I do think Nando may not soon be around and this may give more opportunity for others too including Patty..
What about Patty Mills? The hoppy Aussie literally tore up the UK Olympics in 2012, arguably against better international squads than Team Mexico. And furthermore, he was the only PG to be named to the All-Olympic team, beating out Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and a slew of other star studded NBA point guard talent.
Now clearly, Patty Mills is not on the level of Chris Paul or Tony Parker. But my point is this: If Patty's leadership and international success did not translate into an increased role within Pop's system, it's not necessarily the case that Cory Joseph will find new found success and a greater role either.
@ryankxlu Personally, I like PM too and it's my opinion that CJ has gotten the nod over PM mostly just because CJ is a better defender.