Grades: San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – Preseason Game #5

The San Antonio Spurs ended the preseason with a record of 1-4 after falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder by a final count of 118-112. Before the bench was cleared late in the fourth quarter, the Spurs actually led for a majority of the game — so the final score means even less than it usually does during the exhibition schedule. Overall, the Spurs played decently well and got a couple of notable performances. 

Spurs vs. Thunder – Final Grades

Keldon Johnson
30 minutes, 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls
8-for-19 from the field, 0-for-5 on threes, 3-for-4 at the line

While his three-pointers weren’t dropping in his encore performance of the preseason, Johnson was still really good. His aggression level was consistently high, his court vision was better than usual and his enthusiasm was contagious. He was a made three-pointer or two away from having a second outstanding showing in preseason.

Grade: B+

Devin Vassell
28 minutes, 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 4 fouls
6-for-16 from the field, 1-for-6 on threes, 5-for-5 at the line

Like Johnson, Vassell’s marksmanship from deep was absent. However, he too played well otherwise. He had a few stretches where he struggled but he kept battling and kept his head held high. Defensively, he had some positive plays but was also caught sleeping a few times. 

Grade: B

Jakob Poeltl
25 minutes, 8 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers
4-for-4 from the field

If there’s one player on the Spurs who is obviously anxious for the regular season to begin, it’s Poeltl. When he’s locked in, he can string together positive possessions. On the other hand, Poeltl has gotten bored in his final two preseason games and the result has been uncharacteristically boneheaded turnovers.

Grade: C+

Tre Jones
25 minutes, 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers
4-for-8 from the field, 1-for-1 on threes, 3-for-5 at the line

Jones was extremely active and was hustling around the court, as evidenced by his team-high eight rebounds — mostly of the long carom variety. Jones did well taking what the defense gave him but rarely did anything beyond the most simple of playmaking. 

Grade: B

Jeremy Sochan
22 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 fouls
3-for-7 from the field, 0-for-2 on threes, 0-for-4 from the line

Sochan was again in the starting lineup at power forward. His evening was a mixed bag. The good: Defensively, he was burly on the interior and he rebounded well. Offensively, his ball-handling looked fluid and he kept the ball moving without holding it too long. The bad: Sochan’s two-handed shooting motion was extra rigid and he was rushing his shots, which played a part in him missing all of his three-pointers and free throws. Defensively, he was a step slow on the perimeter and had a few costly miscues on that end.

Grade: C

Joshua Primo
24 minutes, 23 points, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls
8-for-12 from the field, 1-for-4 on threes, 6-for-6 at the line

Primo stole the show for the Spurs. Over the summer, the 19-year-old added strength and improved his coordination. The result is a guard who can create for himself and others, muscle his way to the rim, and finish with balance and touch. This game against the Thunder was the perfect example of why Spurs insiders are so high on him. Primo made the game look easy at times, which is one of the best compliments you can give to a young player. There were some negatives, though. Primo’s ball-handling was iffy at times and his passing was too often off the mark.

Grade: A-

Doug McDermott 
20 minutes, 11 points, 2 turnovers
3-for-6 from the field, 2-for-3 on threes, 3-for-3 at the line

McDermott seems to have fully accepted his role as a bench scorer. He comes into the game and looks to put the ball in the basket from the moment his sneakers hit the hardwood. His offensive efficiency was a definite plus against Oklahoma City. His defense, however, left a lot to be desired.

Grade: B

Romeo Langford
16 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls
1-for-3 from the field

Langford got his most extensive meaningful minutes of preseason. While his stats don’t paint a pretty picture, I thought he was decent. I liked the fight he exhibited on defense and his willingness to rotate and sacrifice his body. Offensively, he displayed some basketball IQ and had instances of aggressiveness. We’ll see if Langford played well enough in these final two preseason games to keep from getting released.

Grade: C+

Keita Bates-Diop
15 minutes, 5 points
2-for-4 from the field, 0-for-1 on threes, 1-for-2 at the line

Bates-Diop didn’t move the needle with his final performance in summer league. He utilized his long arms well a couple of times and was making quick decisions. If the Spurs are looking to save money, it’s possible that Bates-Diop could be released prior to the start of the regular season. However, he probably did enough in the preseason to keep his job.

Grade: B-

Isaiah Roby
13 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 turnovers
3-for-5 from the floor, 0-for-1 on threes, 2-for-3 at the line

Playing against the team that waived him earlier in the offseason, Roby had more positive moments than negative moments. He used his athleticism well in the lane and his running of the court opened up opportunities for teammates. 

Grade: B

Gorgui Dieng
11 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds
2-for-2 from the line

Dieng continued his outstanding rebounding in the preseason. His presence on the perimeter spaced the court and his banged bodies in the interior.

Grade: B

Malaki Branham
9 minutes, 2 assists
0-for-3 from the field, 0-for-3 on threes

Branham had been shooting it well in the preseason so it’s surprising that he went 0-for his final outing. His defensive footwork has a ways to go.

Grade: C

Blake Wesley
3 minutes
0-for-1 from the field

Wesley only got to play at the very end and wasn’t able to show much.

Grade: Inc.