Grades: Spurs vs. Thunder – Summer League Game #7

The San Antonio Spurs got a win in their final summer league game of the year. San Antonio jumped out to a big lead early and looked to be in control for a majority of the night. The Oklahoma City Thunder rallied in the fourth quarter and took the lead but the good guys rattled off a late 10-0 run to escape with a 98-94 victory. Overall, the Spurs finished 5-2 in summer league.

This win was by far the unlikeliest of them all. The Spurs were playing without Victor Wembanyama, Malaki Branham, Julian Champagnie, Dominick Barlow and Blake Wesley and somehow still found a way to come out on top against a far, far more talented Thunder squad.  

Sidy Cissoko

24 minutes, 10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 1 foul
3-for-5 from the field, 0-for-1 on threes, 4-for-5 at the line

Cissoko ended his summer league play on a high note. In 24 highly impactful minutes (it was no coincidence that he had a team-best plus-minus of +16), the 19-year-old wing from France was really good in a multitude of areas. Offensively, his passing was excellent. From passes off of penetration to passes to cutters, Cissoko proved once again he’s a fantastic passing prospect for a wing. He also authored a few memorable drives to the hoop where his physicality and creativity (but mostly his physicality) stood out. Cissoko only shot five times but was very helpful on the offensive end, which is great to see from a young player. Defensively, he was arguably even better. He hounded ball-handlers, rotated promptly and crashed the boards — all while committing only one personal foul. Considering his early summer league play was plagued by fouls, his growth in that specific area was awesome to witness.

Grade: A

Javante McCoy

31 minutes, 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
7-for-12 from the floor, 2-for-5 on threes, 2-for-2 at the line

This was the McCoy I thought the Spurs were getting heading into summer league. Offensively, he took smart shots, had a soft touch on all of his jumpers and made the right passes. His playmaking was needed and he came through. Defensively, McCoy wasn’t stellar but he had a few positive possessions in which he cut off his man to force a difficult shot or pass.

Grade: A-

Erik Stevenson

29 minutes, 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 fouls
7-for-23 from the floor, 4-for-13 on threes, 5-for-5 at the line

Stevenson was very good in terms of shooting the ball a lot. In 29 minutes, he shot 23 times to get his 23 points. Truth be told, Stevenson was sometimes forced into difficult shots due to San Antonio’s sputtering offense — but most of the time he was just shooting whenever he saw a glimmer of daylight. I wasn’t impressed with his ball-handling or defense, to put it kindly. Stevenson did have a couple nice passes and he smartly utilized his impressive leaping ability to gather rebounds. 

Grade: B-

Charles Bediako

28 minutes, 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls
8-for-14 from the floor, 1-for-1 at the line

It was interesting to watch Bediako spread his wings on offense. At 6-foot-11, the center isn’t the most graceful athlete on the planet but he was efforting at a high level and ended up giving San Antonio 17 much-needed points. It’s always an adventure whenever Bediako is asked to do anything other than dunk — but, hey, he was doing what he could to aid the cause. Defensively, his mobility was intriguing at times and his all-around effort on the glass was commendable.

Grade: A-

Seth Millner

20 minutes, 5 points, 3 rebounds
2-for-6 from the floor, 1-for-4 on threes

I like that Millner shoots the ball with a palpable amount of self-assuredness and moves well to get himself open. That said, he struggled to score when his defender was anywhere in the vicinity, which was a constant theme for him in summer league.

Grade: C+

Sir’Jabari Rice

18 minutes, 13 points, 4 steals, 4 fouls
5-for-12 from the floor, 1-for-6 on threes, 2-for-2 at the line

Rice only played 18 minutes but was seemingly right in the middle of every possible possession. The two-way contract player is extremely smart on both sides of the court, which is clearly his primary selling point as a prospect. On offense, he runs pick-and-roll sets well, he’s crafty enough to get shots in the lane and he’s confident in his outside jumper. Defensively, while he made a handful of mistakes, he plays passing lanes well and he rotates at lightning speed. 

Grade: A-

Chaundee Brown

12 minutes, 3 rebounds
0-for-3 from the floor, 0-for-1 on threes

Brown doesn’t seem to know how to differentiate a good shot from a bad shot. I’m also not sure he can make anything other than the most basic of passes. Brown played hard but needed to be wiser with his decisions.

Grade: C-

Justin Kier

10 minutes, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls

From someone who didn’t shoot, Kier sure had a lot of notable plays. Unfortunately, his turnovers were probably the most noteworthy plays of all. Then again, he passed the ball well and gave the Spurs another competent ball-handler on the court. 

Grade: C+

Josh Carlton

10 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls
3-for-7 from the floor, 1-for-3 at the line

Carlton isn’t much of an athlete and he isn’t blessed with an abundance of skill but he’s fun to watch in this setting because he tries as hard as he possibly can. His seven field goal attempts in ten minutes begin to tell the story of how much he was involved. Carlton had a lot of positive and negative moments but, overall, I thought he did slightly more good than bad.

Grade: B-

Logan Johnson

9 minutes, 3 points, 2 steals, 2 fouls
1-for-1 from the floor, 1-for-1 on threes

Johnson is another player who made the most of his minutes. He hit a three, was flying around the court on defense and tried to make plays on offense despite his ball-handling being heavily contested. 

Grade: B-

Justin Gorham

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

Gorham is known for his rebounding and he once again exhibited a lot of potential in that category. Four rebounds in eight minutes? Yeah, that’s nice.

Grade: B

Matt Nielson

The Thunder had a lot more talent on the court, including two lottery picks in their starting lineup. I don’t know what Nielson said to his guys but they came out playing hard and never gave up. Well done.

Grade: A-