Grades: Spurs vs. Pistons – Summer League Game #6

The San Antonio Spurs dropped to 2-2 in the Las Vegas Summer League following a 79-73 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. A short-handed Spurs squad was playing without Victor Wembanyama, Malaki Branham and Julian Champagnie, yet San Antonio still controlled the game for long stretches. Unfortunately for the good guys, they fumbled away a potential win by getting outscored 22-12 in the fourth quarter. 

Dominick Barlow

30 minutes, 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists
8-for-12 from the field, 3-for-6 at the line

Barlow was the main reason why the Spurs were able to keep this game competitive. He was very active in the middle on both ends of the court. Offensively, he exhibited the ability to catch the ball on the perimeter or on the run and successfully finish at the rim. Barlow’s jumper continues to look smooth and his passing is improving. The Spurs would have been much better off if he was even more aggressive and attempted to carry the load, particularly in the fourth quarter.

Grade: A-

Blake Wesley

28 minutes, 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers
3-for-17 from the field, 0-for-3 on threes, 4-for-5 at the line

Yikes. Wesley was only 3-for-17 from the floor and, despite starting at point guard, he only handed out one assist. As the numbers suggest, he didn’t do a whole lot right. His shot-selection wasn’t good and his finishing remains a major work in progress. Wesley’s passing was nothing to write home about. That said, Wesley wasn’t quite as terrible as you’d think based on his statistics. I liked his defensive effort and his work on the glass. Offensively, part of the issue was he didn’t have many capable players to pass the ball to. For that reason, I liked that Wesley kept his head up and kept attacking despite his struggles. 

Grade: D+

Sidy Cissoko

25 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls
3-for-9 from the floor, 0-for-3 on threes, 0-for-3 at the line

The good: Cissoko is still clearly the best passer on the summer league team. His timing when passing is great and it’s clear that his basketball IQ is really high. Cissoko’s jumper didn’t look that good but his finishing was somewhat promising. Defensively, he’s aggressive and he has done a good job of limiting his fouls in the last couple games. The bad: His mechanics on his jumper were different each time he shot it — and it never looked good. Cissoko is a powerful athlete but he’s not an overly explosive athlete. The Spurs tried to coax more playmaking out of Cissoko but he didn’t appear to have it in him to run the show.

Grade: B

Seth Millner

26 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers
3-for-8 from the floor, 2-for-6 on threes

Millner’s stroke is clean and he gets really good rotation on the ball. What holds him back from being even more productive is he’s not long and he’s not athletic. Millner played hard but he had trouble stringing together positive possessions.

Grade: B

Erik Stevenson

19 minutes, 3 points, 3 turnovers, 6 fouls
1-for-8 from the floor, 1-for-4 on threes

Stevenson started and … yeah, not pretty. The kid’s tough as nails and he jumps high but he’s just not good at basketball. Defensively, his lack of quickness forces him to foul. Offensively, the same lack of quickness makes him a poor ball-handler and limits his ability to penetrate. Stevenson has clearly been a liability on the court the last few games.

Grade: D-

Charles Bediako

21 minutes, 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls
2-for-4 from the floor, 2-for-6 at the line

Bediako didn’t do anything too amazing but I thought this was his best outing. Defensively, he guarded the paint really well and was much better about holding his ground. Bediako was quicker off his feet than usual, which specifically helped him on the boards. Offense is still a struggle for the center but he showed some creativity. His ball-handling is decent and he wasn’t shy about trying to put points on the board..

Grade: B+

Javante McCoy

21 minutes, 8 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds
3-for-4 from the floor, 2-for-2 at the line

Heading into summer league play, I thought McCoy would be one of the team’s best players. Unfortunately, it took until the sixth game for him to look even halfway decent. Tonight against the Pistons, McCoy was a force for good on offense. He utilized screens well and made good decisions on the move. In retrospect, the coaches should have put the ball in McCoy’s hands even more. 

Grade: B

Sir’Jabari Rice

16 minutes, 11 points, 3 steals, 2 turnovers
4-for-8 from the floor, 1-for-5 on threes, 2-for-3 at the line

Rice made his Spurs summer league debut and it’s fair to say that he hit the ground running. I liked a majority of what I saw. He plays a smart brand of basketball on the offensive end. Rice cuts well and processes the game quickly. His jumper was a little rusty but his mechanics look pristine. Rice made a handful of defensive mistakes but that was understandable since it was his first outing.

Grade: B+

Justin Gorham

10 minutes
0-for-2 from the floor, 0-for-2 on threes

Other than missing a pair of threes, Gorham didn’t do much of anything.

Grade: D+

Chaundee Brown

4 minutes, 2 points
1-for-3 from the floor, 0-for-2 on threes

Brown wasn’t timid but mixing in a few more passes might have gotten him a longer leash. 

Grade: Inc.

Matt Nielsen

Trying to win the game without Wembanyama, Branham and Champagnie wasn’t going to be easy. To Nielsen’s credit, he almost did it. Given the circumstances, the team held up well. Then again, Nielsen could have done more to make life easier for Wesley. As it was, Wesley was basically just thrown to the wolves. I also don’t understand the continued minutes for Stevenson. 

Grade: B-