Blake Wesley shines for the Spurs regardless of shut loss at Las Vegas Summer season League

The San Antonio Spurs dropped a detailed one to the Golden State Warriors, 85-86, relinquishing a 17-point third-quarter lead and falling a literal last-second turnover away from choosing up their first win in Las Vegas. Although the nice guys are 0-2 at Summer season League, they confirmed extra cohesion as a unit, particularly on the defensive finish.

San Antonio entered a packed Thomas and Mack Middle as underdogs to a group that featured a pair of latest high ten picks in James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga, and the viewers provided ear-piercing assist for the 2022 NBA champions. Regardless of the uphill battle, the shorthanded Summer season Spurs competed from begin to end.

Head coach Mitch Johnson trotted out a strict nine-man rotation, leaving kids like Josh Primo, Blake Wesley, Malaki Branham, and Dominick Barlow to deal with the ebbs and flows of the matchup. Whereas his squad fell wanting the upset, he touted them for his or her resilience on each side of the hardwood versus high-level prospects.

“I believe the protection took a step forward immediately, which is an efficient factor for essentially the most half,” Johnson informed reporters. “You give them credit score. They’re large, robust, and athletic. Wiseman and Kuminga are monsters, particularly at this stage.”

Whereas this matchup felt like extra of a gaggle effort than their first Summer season League outing, there have been a few spectacular particular person performances that deserve a better look. So with out additional ado, listed below are the standouts from sport two in Las Vegas.

Blake Wesley (22 factors, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers, on 7-of-20)

Blake Wesley led the Spurs in scoring for a second straight sport, logging 22 factors in a team-high half-hour. The 19-year-old guard had no points cracking by the primary layer of the protection, however he compelled the difficulty an excessive amount of as he persistently had his layups blocked or altered. The subsequent stage is studying how and when to vary gears successfully.

Poor shot choice and taking part in uncontrolled was the overarching theme for Wesley. Whereas attending to your spots on demand is a uncommon expertise, it has much less worth while you drive low-percentage makes an attempt on the expense of higher alternatives. Head coach Mitch Johnson talked about how slowing issues down is part of the developmental course of.

“You’re employed on it, you present them movie, undergo reads, stroll and speak stuff,” Johnson stated. “The sport slows down for guys with expertise. You see patterns, and while you see patterns over time, you acknowledge patterns earlier. And while you get actually good, you possibly can manipulate these issues.”

Though Wesley took a number of head-scratchers early into the shot-clock, he additionally struggled collectively some nifty sequences as a self-creator, together with a number of pull-up threes off the bounce. The Notre Dame alumnus ought to have each Spurs followers excited for what would possibly lie forward for him as somebody who can produce on the spot offense.

The rookie completed this matchup with no assists, although it might be lazy to counsel that was indicative of selfishness. Wesley whipped a few incredible baseline wraparound and skip passes, however they in the end went unrewarded as his teammates missed wide-open seems. He might stand to make higher selections, however there’s legit playmaking potential.

Three-point taking pictures has been one of many extra stunning developments from Wesley, because the six-five swingman is 7-of-11 (63.6%) from past the arc throughout two Summer season League video games. There’s some wasted movement on his jumper, notably off the catch, however working with assistant coach Chip Engelland might refine a few of his unhealthy habits.

Darius Days (17 factors, 12 rebounds, 2 steals, on 5-of-10)

Darius Days was regular for the second sport in a row, and he may need recorded the most effective efficiency for the Spurs versus Golden State. There’s something refreshing a few participant who operates totally inside their position in a Summer season League setting. The 22-year-old ahead by no means tried to steal the present, but he stood out among the many crowd.

Days regarded like a consummate skilled. He ran the ground in transition, relocated to the corners, set sturdy screens, made well timed cuts, obtained to the free-throw line, and took benefit of put up mismatches. Good groups can at all times discover a place for low-usage, high-efficiency guys, and Darius understands what he can convey to any group.

“My power on the glass, speaking on protection, simply holding different guys accountable,” Days stated. “Breaking out huddles, being a slack room man, that is what I actually do, and I can shoot the ball somewhat bit.”

Defensively, there are warranted issues about his foot velocity and lateral mobility. Regardless, his body and motor can cowl a few of his shortcomings. Days has energetic arms, fights for each rebound, hardly ever misses fundamental rotations, and he’s already exhibiting franchises why they need to have drafted him final month.

Josh Primo (10 factors, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, on 2-of-15)

Sunday was the worst taking pictures evening now we have witnessed from Josh Primo since he entered the NBA. The teaching workers once more utilized the Canadian combo guard as a secondary ball-handler for many of the contest, however he did a whole lot of dribbling to nowhere in one-on-one conditions. And producing separation was an issue all through the sport.

Primo compelled a ton of pull-ups, side-steps, and step-backs when he did not create area, and Mac McClung and Quinndary Weatherspoon had the 19-year-old flustered. The 2021 lottery choose did not let his chilly spell shake his confidence, and head coach Mitch Johnson was happy together with his relentless aggression.

“Photographs did not fall, he had some powerful factors, however he continued to remain in it,” Johnson stated. “I’d be way more mad if he was 2-for-5, as loopy as that sounds. I am glad he took 15 photographs.”

Sadly, whereas Primo has some wonderful drive-and-kick deliveries to the perimeter, he additionally made foolish errors. The second-year Spur solely had three turnovers, however that quantity ought to have been a lot increased with how usually he left his toes and not using a plan. Primo obtained bailed out a couple of instances, however you need to see higher processing from him.

There wasn’t a lot distinction in his defensive output, which is good news for everybody holding monitor of his Summer season League headway. Primo slid his toes with backcourt gamers to chop off their drives, and he was one of many higher group defenders on the ground for San Antonio. He ought to be a internet optimistic on this finish if he exerts constant effort.

Malaki Branham (6 factors, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, on 1-of-6)

The Ohio State product by no means fairly discovered a gap to go away his mark on this tilt, and he solely took six photographs in practically 27 minutes. Malaki Branham is at first a scorer, however he appeared uncertain of himself, passing up a couple of open seems and hesitating to assault advantageous home windows.

Branham was an on the spot bucket out of the pick-and-roll a season in the past, and force-feeding him reps would possibly encourage him to be extra aggressive and assertive. Head coach Mitch Johnson says the rookie is determining find out how to choose his spots on a gifted group filled with succesful ball-handlers.

“I believe a part of it most likely is Branham is an unselfish child simply making an attempt to play the appropriate means,” Johnson stated. “There’s a few instances the place I am yelling at him to shoot it. so it’s going to come.”

His protection on and off the ball is poor, so his offense should outweigh his deficiencies if he needs to make a distinction on the court docket. In fact, there shall be loads of time for the 19-year-old swingman to learn to maximize his wingspan and body because the Spurs begin a full throttle rebuild.

Dominick Barlow (4 factors, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers, on 1-of-2)

The boxscore can solely convey a lot of the story, and Dominick Barlow was stable regardless of what his numbers would possibly point out. The 19-year-old two-way contract signee went toe-to-toe with James Wiseman on the basket for quite a few possessions, and he relished the chance.

“He was the quantity two choose,” Barlow stated. “It is guys like that you simply need to compete towards. You need to show your self. You need to present you possibly can comprise them and provides them issues too.”

Barlow has most likely been miscast as a extra conventional rim-protector on this considerably undersized roster, however he displayed distinctive mobility when matched up with smaller gamers on the perimeter. Though he jumps for each pretend pump, the bodily instruments are engaging

The undrafted large man has an extended method to go earlier than he reaches his high-end end result. Nevertheless, squint your eyes exhausting sufficient, and you’ll start to make out the image of a switchable frontcourt prospect with taking pictures potential and the athleticism to behave as a lob goal.


try my earlier article for extra courtside Spurs Summer season League protection reside from Las Vegas.

I will be on the sidelines in Sin Metropolis for 2 extra days, so keep tuned as I monitor San Antonio’s high prospects.

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