San Antonio Spurs Summer League Roster Preview
It’s quite amazing to see the amount of talent that goes through the San Antonio Spurs’ system, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on their roster this summer, even if it’s just the Vegas Summer League. They have an eye for talent, and their roster certainly includes plenty of it.
Kyle Anderson, F: It was no surprise when the Spurs selected Kyle Anderson with the last pick of the first round. At only 20-years-old, Anderson arguably has the highest basketball IQ of any player from his class and his positional versatility is a perfect fit for the Spurs. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s utilized, especially if they force him into the “point forward” role so he’s able to adjust to the speed of the game. Either way, Anderson is a terrific all-around player who can shoot off the catch and the dribble, create for his teammates, and excel in transition.
Players Under Contract
Bryce Cotton, G: Cotton is an extremely dynamic scorer who can score from all areas of the court thanks to his creative dribbling and fantastic first step, which is probably why the Spurs were so quick to sign him to a contract. Even though Cotton is undersized and struggles to defend the average-sized NBA point guard, he brings enough on the offensive floor to warrant some playing time as a sparkplug.
Jeff Ayres, C: Playing as a deep reserve for the Spurs last season, Ayres — formerly known as Pendergraph — is a highly productive rebounder who plays solid fundamental defense. He’s a productive team defender and should lock down the paint in Vegas. Though it’d be nice to see some progression on the offensive end of the floor, it shouldn’t be expected of him, as he is likely only a role player.
Austin Daye, F: Daye’s production has fallen off a cliff since he showed potential during his second year in Detroit, but there is no better situation for him than San Antonio, where he will get the opportunity to show that he can do more than catch-and-shoot. He has been a horrendous rebounder and a subpar defender for his position, so using him as a specialist could be in the cards if he takes a step forward in those weak areas.
Trey McKinney-Jones, G: McKinney-Jones went undrafted in 2013, so he spent the entire year playing in the D-League, averaging 15.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. With a game based around slashing to the rim, “TMJ” complements his skills with a respectable three-point jumper. However, he must show that he can do more on the defensive end if he’s ever going to win a roster spot in the NBA.
Melvin Ejim, F: Ejim is a jack of all trades, a master of none. He’s a very good ball handler for his position, passes accurately, rebounds the ball well, and hustles every play. However, in order to stick in the NBA he’s going to need to improve his perimeter game on both ends of the floor; as an average shooter and a tweener, he lacks a true position, which currently limits his potential.
Draft-and-Stashes and Internationals
Xavi Rey, C: Rey has been on the NBA radar for quite some time; now 27-years-old, the Spurs are giving him another chance with the hopes that he has taken his game far enough to be an impact bench big man. Rey’s potential seems to lie in his ability to roll to the rim and quickly elevate after receiving the pass. Like with most bigs in the modern NBA, progression as a shooter is a must, and Rey has done that the past three years, improving his free throw percentage from 45.1% in 2012 to 57.1% in 2013 to 72.7% in 2014.
Ryan Richards, PF: Selected by San Antonio in 2010, Richards was projected as a big man who could sling it from downtown, who primarily had to overcome his raw skills in virtually every other facet of his game. However, four years later his development has left a lot to be desired, and it wouldn’t be surprising if this was his last chance to prove that he can do more than just shoot.
Marcus Denmon, G: San Antonio drafted Denmon back in 2012 and have stashed him since then. Denmon was a 40.1% three-point shooter in his four-year college career but has yet to see that success translate to the pros. If he ever reaches the NBA, he’ll need to find consistency from three, in addition to improving his pure point skills.
Deshaun Thomas, F: After being drafted by the Spurs last year, Thomas spent the year playing with JSF Nanterre, a team in France’s Pro A League. There, Thomas played quite well off the bench, showcasing his versatility at the forward position. However, in the NBA he still projects as a tweener who lacks the ability to defend either position at a high level. Showing improvement on this end of the floor is something to watch for in Vegas.
Viktor Gaddefors, SF: Gaddefors has average athleticism but appears to have a solid all-around game. Playing in the Italian League, he averaged 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, but it’ll be vital that he finds consistency from behind the arc. He shot only 32.4% from three and has a bit of a flat release, which may be the cause of his problems. If San Antonio is able to fix his issues, he may be able to take a step forward this month.
Nobel Boungou-Colo, PF: Playing in France’s Pro A League, Boungou-Colo made significant strides this past year as a shooter, improving his three-point percentage to 39.7% from 26.6% the prior season. Boungou-Colo is a highly athletic player who can defend multiple positions, so this development in his game will be key for his chances of making it to the next level.
Fringe NBA Players
Darius Morris, G: Unable to find a stable situation, Morris has played with four NBA teams and two D-League teams in his short three-year career. Now 23-years-old, he will get an opportunity to show off his scoring skills to International scouts, where he should go and work on his craft before making a shift back to the NBA a few years from now.
Vander Blue, G: Last year Blue played very well in the D-League but struggled drastically when he received his chance in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. Blue is undersized, but has the athleticism to make up for it. While his off-ball defense must improve, he is a feisty on-ball defender. Offensively, Blue still needs to work on progressing his jumper, but he has still been better since leaving college.
JaMychal Green, F: Green has always been touted as a player with fantastic athleticism but without many pure basketball skills. Two years after going undrafted, he may have finally developed a three-pointer after shooting 36.1% from downtown playing overseas. Even though his production came on only 36 attempts, it’s a significant improvement for a guy that never really shot the three before.