Grades: San Antonio Spurs vs. Atlanta Hawks – Summer League Game #4

The San Antonio Spurs stumbled to 0-4 in summer league action following an 87-86 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The Spurs snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by allowing the Hawks to go on a 14-0 run late in the fourth quarter. San Antonio regained the lead with 26.4 seconds remaining but gave up a basket and then turned the ball over on their final possession.

The Spurs played this game without two-way contract candidate Darius Days (unspecified illness), who joined Joshua Primo, Jeremy Sochan and Joe Wieskamp on the sidelines. 

Spurs vs. Hawks: Final Grades

Blake Wesley

31 minutes, 20 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 5 turnovers, 6 fouls
8-for-17 from the field, 2-for-6 on threes, 2-for-2 at the line

Coming off of a game in which he was 3-for-20 in the first half, Wesley was really good in the first half against the Hawks. He had 12 points and was 5-for-8 from the field in the opening two quarters. Compared to previous outings, he was much more under control, had better shot-selection and was better at finding open teammates.

Unfortunately, Wesley’s headier play began to evaporate in the second half. When the going got tough, he was too quick to abandon offensive sets to call his own number. 

All in all, though, I thought Wesley was pretty good. He was quick and attentive on the defensive end. His passing was crisper throughout and he had fewer reckless forays to the rim. Wesley’s ball-handling and overall decision-making are works in progress but he continues to show an intriguing amount of potential. 

Grade: B

Malaki Branham

28 minutes, 13 points, 2 rebounds
6-for-14 from the field, 0-for-2 on threes, 1-for-2 at the line

The good: Branham exhibited more slick moves with and without the ball. He once again showed off his underrated hops at the rim (but, once again, missed the dunk). I thought he was much better defensively than we’ve seen previously.

The bad: Branham was too timid, especially with so much talent sitting on the sidelines. The Spurs needed him to carry more of the offensive slack — but he seemed hesitant throughout. He was also passing up opportunities and struggled handling the ball in a crowd. 

Grade: B- 

Ky Bowman

25 minutes, 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
5-for-10 from the field, 3-for-4 on threes, 1-for-2 at the line

Bowman was really bad last game so this outing was a massive step in the right direction. He wasn’t especially good, mind you, but he was much improved. The 25-year-old plays with a notable amount of savviness but he’s not as good of a passer or dribbler as one would expect with his level of experience. His shooting stroke is sound but he can struggle to get it off due to his substandard athleticism. I don’t see Bowman as a player worthy of taking to training camp, even though the Spurs are thin when it comes to competent point guard depth. 

Grade: B-

Josh Carlton

21 minutes, 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls
4-for-7 from the field, 3-for-4 at the line

Carlton was fine. He’s not especially mobile or athletic but he plays hard, rebounds and has good timing for blocks. In today’s up and down league, it’s unlikely that Carlton could be more than a third center.

Grade: B

Robert Woodard II

21 minutes, 8 point, 8 rebounds, 2 turnovers
2-for-9 from the field, 0-for-4 on threes, 4-for-6 at the line

Woodard obviously knows he needs to show more offensive potential to stick in the league. He’s trying to expand his offensive repertoire in summer league — but it’s just not happening. Woodard isn’t a good ball-handler and is an unnatural shooter, especially when he’s creating for himself. On the other end, he’s a big, tough perimeter defender. However, his feet can look slow against smaller guards, which limits his impact. 

Grade: C

Kyler Edwards

21 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
2-for-4 from the field, 1-for-3 on threes, 1-for-1 at the line

Edwards has smooth mechanics on his jumper. He competes on defense and plays with awareness. It looks like he needs to get in better shape, though. Edwards will be worth tracking in Austin. 

Grade: B

DJ Stewart

20 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds
3-for-7 from the field, 0-for-2 on threes, 2-for-4 at the line

Stewart has without question the highest basketball IQ of any active player on the Spurs summer league team. He’s not flashy and can have trouble finishing off plays — but he knows what he should be doing. That said, I don’t think Stewart is worth signing to a two-way contract for the Spurs due to his modest ceiling as a prospect. 

Grade: B-

Dominick Barlow

19 minutes, 4 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls
2-for-4 from the field, 0-for-2 at the line

Barlow is still a ball of clay at this point in his development but there are reasons to be optimistic. His mobility at the center position is a definite strength. Combine that with his innate defensive instincts and the 19-year-old can already be counted on to make plays on that end. Offensively, he has a jumper, can handle the ball a little bit and is unselfish.

While his hands might be made of cement and his feel for the game on the offensive end can be painfully rudimentary, the physical tools and his defensive instincts make Barlow someone who might turn into something valuable within the next two years. 

Grade: B

Jordan Hall

13 minutes, 2 points
1-for-2 from the field

Hall is unquestionably skilled but he needs work before he’s ready to sniff an NBA court. He needs to somehow improve his athleticism, as he’s much too stiff to survive. He needs to also learn the game better defensively. As it is, he makes defensive mistakes almost every time up the court. Offensively, Hall needs a healthy dosage of confidence. He has the size and the court vision to be a good passer but he lacks the self-assuredness. 

Grade: C

Mitch Johnson

I had a handful of quibbles with Johnson’s coaching. Leaning on Bowman and Carlton doesn’t make sense in the short-term or long-term. Wesley or Branham should never be standing around watching Bowman operate. Additionally, Carlton shouldn’t play more minutes than Barlow. 

In terms of the Xs and Os, Johnson going to a zone when the Hawks were only hurting the Spurs from three-point land was highly questionable. That decision seemed to ignite Atlanta in the fourth. The offensive play-calling was lacking late, as a play or two for Branham would have aided San Antonio’s cause. The final play that had Barlow as the decision-maker was … not fantastic.

Grade: C-