Progress Report: An In-Depth Look at the Spurs After 13 Games

The San Antonio Spurs have played 13 games of the 2022-2023 NBA season. As far as wins and losses are concerned, the Spurs have surpassed all expectations by posting a record of 6-7. Projected by pundits to be one of the worst teams in the league, this squad has played with a togetherness and toughness that has been enjoyable to watch.

The Spurs are sure to have plenty of more ups, downs and surprises as the season progresses. Is San Antonio destined for a spot in the play-in tournament for the third straight season or will the Spurs prove prognosticators right by diving to the bottom of the standings? Time will tell. For this progress report, I’ll take a close look at each player and how he has performed so far this season after 13 games.

Keldon Johnson

After the Spurs traded away Dejounte Murray in the offseason, it was clear that Keldon Johnson would be given the opportunity to be the team’s go-to scorer. Would he be up to the task? Would his scoring efficiency suffer?

I’m happy to report that Johnson’s transition to go-to scorer has gone about as smoothly as anyone could have expected. In 12 games, Johnson is averaging 23.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 34.0 minutes per game. He’s shooting 46.2% from the field, 42.9% from three-point range and 76.7% from the free throw line.

Per 36 minutes, Johnson has increased his scoring from 19.2 points last season to 25.0 points this season (tied for 19th in the NBA). A close look at his numbers point to a pair of reasons why he’s having so much scoring success. First, he’s shooting 9.3 three-pointers per 36 minutes — a 55% rate increase over last season. Second, Johnson is shooting 5.3 free throws per 36 minutes — a 47% rate increase over last season.

With increased rates of threes and freebies, Johnson’s shooting efficiency has dramatically improved. His true shooting percentage this season is 60.4%. That compares favorably to his percentage from last season (57.4%) and to the league average this season (57.0%).

Inside the three-point arc, he went from averaging 9.2 two-point attempts this season to 9.1 two-point attempts this season. Considering that he lost 21 pounds in the offseason, the fact that Big Body is finishing at the basket just as well this year as he did last year erases any fears that slimming down could have had unintended consequences in the paint.

With Johnson touching the ball more than ever, it’s no surprise that his assists are also up. He’s averaging 3.9 assists per 36 minutes, a 62.5% increase over his assist rate from last season. 

Johnson is an unselfish passer on the perimeter and he’s getting better and better at finding teammates when he’s driving to the hoop. In previous seasons, he’d put his head down and drive to the basket looking to score come hell, high water, seven-footers or charge-seeking guards. This season, the 23-year-old is keeping his eyes open as he makes his moves. Consider this: Johnson has only one offensive foul this season, a rate decrease of 67% compared to last season.

Plus-minus statistics confirm that Johnson has been San Antonio’s most influential difference-maker this season. Per 100 possessions, the Spurs are 12.9 points better when Johnson plays compared to when he sits. To put it a different way, the Spurs play like a .500 team when Johnson is on the court and play like one of the worst teams of all-time when Johnson is on the bench.

Johnson has one glaring area of improvement: turnovers. He’s averaging 3.2 turnovers per 36 minutes, which is more than twice his number from last season (1.4). This is where the loss of Murray is negatively impacting him. Johnson needs to be more careful when dribbling the ball in traffic and needs to become better at not telegraphing his passes.

Then again, this is a natural learning curve for a player who wasn’t asked to do much playmaking in his first three seasons in the NBA. Johnson is figuring out how to be the focal point of an offense and the early returns are definitely positive. If he can keep his scoring rate and shooting efficiency where it is while increasing assists even more and decreasing turnovers, an All-Star game appearance would only be a matter of time.

Devin Vassell

Perhaps the most pleasant of all the surprises this season for the Spurs is that Devin Vassell has become a legitimately great offensive prospect. When he was drafted 11th overall in the 2020 draft, he was regarded as primarily a defensive prospect who had shown glimpses of upside potential on the offensive end. Well, folks, that offensive potential is now knocking on the front door. 

On the season, Vassell is averaging 21.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 31.6 minutes per game. He’s shooting 47.0% from the field, 43.5% on three-pointers and 76.0% from the charity stripe. Per 36 minutes, Vassell is averaging 24.0 points, a rate increase of 48% over last season. His scoring rate this season is tied for the 25th best mark in the league — not bad for a defensive prospect.

Like Johnson, Vassell’s shooting efficiency has gone way up despite being asked to shoulder a much larger load. Last season, his true shooting percentage was 54.0%. This season, it’s 59.1% — a very healthy percentage for a guard.

Vassell’s scoring increase is impossible to narrow down to any specific improvements; he’s basically doing more of everything. Last season, he averaged 7.1 two-point attempts, 7.1 three-point attempts and 1.8 free throw attempts per 36 minutes. This season, those numbers have jumped to 10.1 two-point attempts, 8.7 three-point attempts and 3.2 free throw attempts.

Out of necessity, the Spurs have asked Vassell to handle a lot more of the playmaking this season. The 22-year-old has responded by becoming a player who can create his own shots off the dribble by utilizing his high release-point and crafty footwork. He’s also becoming a much better passer: he’s averaging 4.3 assists per 36 minutes, a 72% rate increase over last season. 

What’s Vassell’s area of improvement? Unlike Johnson, turnovers haven’t been a problem for Vassell. In fact, his assist-to-turnover ratio has actually improved from 2.27-to-1 last season to 2.87-to-1 this season.

Instead, what Vassell could do to help the Spurs is to not forget about the defensive end. He’s been a pretty good defender this season but he has the tools and the instincts to be a very, very good defender. Proof of his defensive slippage can be found in his statistics: he had 76 steals and 41 blocks last season but he has only eight steals and three blocks this season. 

It’s understandable that Vassell’s defense won’t be as consistently great if he is to carry a heavy offensive load — it happens to everyone (it even happened to Kawhi Leonard) — but he can be better on that end than he’s been so far this season.

Overall, though, Spurs fans should be very excited about Vassell’s growth. If he can keep doing what he’s doing on the offensive end, that’d be fantastic. If he can add stellar defense to the mix, he’d be another player on the roster with legitimate All-Star upside. 

Jakob Poeltl

Although he’s just 13 games into the season, Jakob Poeltl has already exhibited his propensity for streakiness. In his first six games, he averaged 15.8 points and 11.0 rebounds and looked poised to break into the conversation as being a top tier center in the NBA. But in his next five games, Poeltl came crashing down to earth with averages of 6.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.

All told, Poeltl is posting similar numbers offensively as last season. His points per 36 minutes of 15.5 points is slightly down from last season, however his true shooting percentage of 62.6% is slightly up. He’s averaging a career-high of 4.6 assists per 36 minutes but his assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.70-to-1 is slightly worse than it was last season. 

Rebounding-wise, Poeltl is right in line with his expectations. He’s averaging 12.0 rebounds per 36 minutes after he averaged 11.6 boards last season. 

I haven’t been as impressed with Poeltl’s defense this year compared to how he has played on that end in past seasons. The numbers back up that observation. His rate of blocked shots is down 32% from last season. Moreover, the Spurs have allowed 116.0 points per 100 possessions with Poeltl on the court this season and only 109.5 points when he’s been on the bench.

Poeltl’s foul rate has plummeted from 3.9 fouls per 36 minutes last season to 2.6 fouls this season. Typically, that’d be cause for celebration for a big man — but, for Poeltl, that’s further proof that he hasn’t been as active as usual on defense this season.

The good news is that aforementioned streakiness. Historically, Poeltl has been a very streaky defensive player. Sometimes he’s absolutely elite on that end. Sometimes he’s a mere mortal. This season, we’ve seen the latter version of Poeltl. But, soon enough, I expect the former version to reappear.

Tre Jones

Does Tre Jones have a future as a starting point guard in the NBA? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s still too early to tell. Currently, he’s averaging 12.3 points, 6.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 30.5 minutes per game.

One extremely important improvement Jones has made this season that gives a chance to potentially be a long-term starter is his development of a three-point shot. Last season, he made a total of ten threes and shot 19.6% from deep. This season, he has already made 13 three-pointers and he’s shooting 41.9% from distance. 

Jones was destined to be a career backup point guard if he couldn’t hit threes. But now his rate of shooting threes has increased by 75% over last season and he’s knocking them down at an impressive clip. These are massive steps in the right direction.

Scoring-wise, Jones is averaging 14.5 points per 36 minutes this season. That’s a notable jump from his 13.0 mark from last season.

Ironically, Jones’ struggles this year on offense have been inside of the three-point line. Last season, he hit 54.2% of his two-pointers. This season, he’s hitting only 41.1% of his twos. The main culprit for the drop in percentage is his lack of touch on his floaters. Last season, he connected on about half of his floaters. This season, he’s hitting only about a quarter of his floaters.

My guess is that Jones will cool off a bit from three-point range but his two-point percentage will improve. If that happens, he’ll probably finish the year at around 15 points per 36 minutes — which is an acceptable rate for a pass-first point guard.

Speaking of his passing, Jones has adjusted decently well to a starting role in that regard. His assists per 36 minutes are up about 7% over last season to 7.8 assists. He’s getting really good at using his speed to create opportunities for his teammates and he has expansive court vision even though he’s only 6-foot-1.

In addition to rediscovering his float game, Jones also needs to take care of an uncharacteristic turnover problem that’s been plaguing him this season. Compared to last season, which saw him finish second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio, his turnover rate is up 71%. 

Like Jones’ issue with hitting two-pointers this season, I expect his turnover rate to improve as the season progresses. He’s naturally a low-mistake style of player so I’m not really worried about his dramatic turnover increase at this point.

Defense is another area to keep an eye on with Jones. Team-wise, he’s really good. He offers timely help, he hustles and he gets his hands dirty. Individually, Jones has had problems at times. Bigger point guards have muscled through him too easily, which has caused the coaches to scramble to find ways to hide Jones on defense. If he can’t become a sturdier one-on-one defender, that really hurts his chances of becoming a full-time starter. 

Jeremy Sochan

Rookie Jeremy Sochan has started all 12 games he’s played in this season. While his statistics (7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 23.8 minutes per game) don’t jump off the page, there’s a lot to be thrilled about so far.

Defensively, Sochan has lived up to his billing — and then some. He’s already a very good team defender who knows when to help and he is amazingly fast at spotting vulnerabilities. For a 19-year-old, it’s shocking to see how advanced he is in this area of the game.

Individually, Sochan has already displayed the ability to defend just about anyone in the league. His natural position is power forward but he can competently defend quick point guards and shooting guards who make a living navigating around screens. The only players Sochan might not be able to guard right now are the burliest of the burly centers.

Since he’s a teenager, it’s not a surprise to see that his effectiveness when it comes to individual defense is more hypothetical at this point. He seemingly has all the physical traits needed to do it, he just needs to learn all the nuances on that end and learn the tendencies of players around the league. I’d rate him as an average defender right this second, which is actually a great place to start his developmental curve.

Offensively, it’s easy to see that Sochan is a work in progress. Let’s begin with the positives. His ball-handling is really good for a big. He handles pressure well and he’s quick with it in the open court. Without the ball, he’s a blur in transition and can typically be found beating his man up the court.

Passing is another strength. He sees lanes before they open and he’s accurate with his passes. Sochan’s size and athleticism make him a high-quality finisher in the paint. He’s hitting 68.1% of his two-pointers. Within three feet of the rim, his percentage rises to over 80%.

As far as Sochan’s offensive weaknesses are concerned, three-point shooting is the area that sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s only 6-for-30 from three-point land and his shooting stroke doesn’t look good. It’s slow and there’s a bit of a hitch in it. 

Elsewhere on offense, Sochan rarely looks comfortable looking for his own shot unless he’s completely wide open. As a result of shooting so few contested shots, he’s only 4-for-7 from the free throw line on the season.

All in all, Sochan looks like a great defensive prospect. It’s not hyperbolic to say he has a very real path to become an NBA All-Defensive Team selection multiple times in his career. Offensively, it will come down to whether he can shoot threes consistently. If Sochan can hit threes at a league average percentage, he has what it takes to be a full-time starter the rest of his career. But if he is never able to shoot it straight from deep, his ultimate upside is as a versatile role player who doesn’t start on a championship contending team. 

Interesting tidbit: Sochan’s plus-minus numbers are spectacular so far. Per 100 possessions, the Spurs are 6.3 points better both offensively and defensively when he’s playing. Factoring in both sides of the court, the Spurs are 12.6 points better per 100 possessions when Sochan is in the game. Only Johnson has a higher net rating at +12.9 points. It’s obviously early but this could be a sign that the rookie is already a major asset — even without his three-point shot coming along for the ride just yet.

Josh Richardson

For the most part, Josh Richardson is playing at almost the exact same level he played at last season in his 21 games with the Spurs. On the season, he’s averaging 11.3 points, 2.9 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game, while shooting 42.7% from the field, 40.0% from three-point territory and 85.2% at the line. 

Per 36 minutes, Richardson’s scoring and rebounding numbers are a little bit up and his rebounding number is a little bit down. His true shooting percentage of 58.8% is slightly up (57.7% last season). 

The main difference this season for Richardson is his elevated turnover rate. Compared to last season, he’s turning it over 68% more often. 

The reason why he’s turning it over so much is due to the fact that the Spurs are playing Richardson more at point guard this season. With Joshua Primo jettisoned and Blake Wesley hurt, that has forced Richardson to play the point. The results have been … underwhelming, to put it gently.

Richardson is a fine secondary or tertiary playmaker but playing him at point guard is pushing the limits of his abilities. He’s not a great ball-handler and he doesn’t make reliable passing decisions when he’s under pressure.

Ultimately, Richardson is probably okay enough to be a stopgap solution at backup point guard on a team like the Spurs. On a championship contender, he’s clearly a rotation-quality shooting guard who brings outside shooting, a team-first style of play, leadership and a smidgen of playmaking.

Doug McDermott

The most notable development with Doug McDermott is that he’s perfectly capable of coming off the bench. He started every game he played for the Spurs last season. He has come off the bench every game this season. Statistically, his production hasn’t budged one iota.

McDermott is averaging 10.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 21.1 minutes per game, while hitting 44.9% of his shots from the field and 41.3% from three-point range. On a per-minute basis, it’s difficult to find anything he’s doing better or worse than last season. Even his defensive play is basically the same.

That said, it’s fair to say McDermott is having a better season because he’s been able to sustain his production despite having worse talent around him. The bench unit relies on him moving and cutting without the ball to create holes in the defense. McDermott has been doing just that relentlessly — and that’s about all you can expect from him. Well, that and efficient shooting, which he’s accomplishing for a second straight season in San Antonio.

Zach Collins

Zach Collins entered the 2022-23 campaign healthy for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, he’s currently sidelined for about a month after suffering a non-displaced fracture in his left leg. 

In the nine games he played this season, he averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 blocks in 17.7 minutes. When watching him play, there was a lot to like about how Collins performed.

Statistically, his production is way up. Per 36 minutes, he’s averaging career-highs in points (17.0), assists (5.7), steals (1.4), blocks (2.5) and three-pointers made (1.6). His rebounding rate is down a little bit from last season but it’s higher than his career mark.

The two numbers that stick out are the assists and the threes. The Spurs run a lot of high-low action that requires their centers to make passes to cutters — and Collins does that effortlessly. He has good court vision and passes in a timely manner. Shooting-wise, Collins is hitting 38.9% of his three-pointers. If he can keep that up, his value will climb considerably.

Despite the impressive numbers, the 24-year-old still has a ton of room for growth. As it is, he fouls too much, he turns it over too much and the 6-foot-11, 250-pounder too often struggles to hold his ground in the paint. Collins is a quality rim protector but he’s not a natural when it comes to guarding out on the perimeter. 

At the end of the day, health will be the key for Collins. If he can stay healthy, it very much looks like he could grow into becoming a good NBA player. He could probably even start in the league at some point if he continues to improve and round out the rough edges. But, unfortunately for Collins, his ability to stay healthy isn’t exactly looking promising at this point.

Romeo Langford

Due to unfortunate injuries and unwanted exposures, Romeo Langford has been able to carve out a niche on the Spurs this season. The 23-year-old is currently in the rotation and he’s averaging 4.3 points in 15.3 minutes per game.

It’s become clear why Langford was a lottery pick by the Boston Celtics back in 2019. He’s a very smart player, his movements are buttery smooth, he has enviable length and he can do a little bit of everything. 

Sadly, it’s also becoming clear why the Celtics traded him away. Langford can do a lot — but I’m not sure he does anything well enough to justify playing him. His best attribute is his defense. He’s quick, strong and long but he doesn’t make a lot of plays on that end. Put differently, Langford can stay in front of his man but he rarely applies enough pressure to really make a difference.

Offensively, the situation is more dire. Langford is averaging a paltry 9.5 points per 36 minutes (which is actually higher than his scoring rate for his career) and is only 1-for-7 on three-pointers. He moves with fluidity on offense but he’s not an explosive athlete and he’s not notably good at either passing or ball-handling.

Langford doesn’t play with much fire or confidence, which might actually be why the coaching staff is giving him a chance. If the coaches can light a fire under Langford and make him believe in himself, could he learn how to maximize all of his physical tools and his high basketball IQ? That’s the hope. I don’t see that as anything more than a very unlikely outcome — but that’s the hope. 

Keita Bates-Diop

When it comes to Keita Bates-Diop’s play this season, there’s a lot of good news and a lot of bad news.

The good news: His scoring is way up. Per 36 minutes, he’s averaging 19.6 points. Coming into this season, he had a career mark of 12.5 points. For a team that can sometimes starve for offense, Bates-Diop’s surprising scoring aptitude has been helpful.

Additionally, his rate of going to the free throw line is far and away a career high. Bates-Diop is also shooting two-pointers more frequently than ever and hitting at a career-best mark (57.8%).

The bad news: Bates-Diop’s rate of rebounds, assists and blocks are all way down. In fact, he doesn’t even have a block this season. To make matters worse, his rate of turnovers has doubled over last season. On the season, he has five assists and 14 turnovers.

Bates-Diop is attempting three-pointers more often than he ever has in Silver and Black — but he’s hitting only 28.6% of his shots from deep. 

All told, it’s been a confusing campaign so far for Bates-Diop. On one hand, he’s been useful as a scoring threat at times. On the other hand, he has regressed in so many areas that it’s difficult to put the 26-year-old on the court.

On the season, the Spurs are 13.8 points per 100 possessions worse when Bates-Diop is playing. Only Langford (-17.9) has a lower net rating. 

Isaiah Roby

Like Bates-Diop, Isaiah Roby is a backup power forward who has been in and out of the rotation. He also missed a handful of games due to an illness. To date, he has only played 72 minutes total as a member of the Spurs.

Roby is an intriguing prospect in a lot of ways. The 24-year-old is an impressive athlete at 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds. He runs fast and jumps high. His shooting motion is aesthetically-pleasing. On defense, Roby is fully capable of wreaking havoc in passing lanes and blocking shots at the rim.

What’s holding him back right now is mostly his decision-making. I won’t go as far as to say he has a low basketball IQ — but let’s just say he makes decisions that will leave you scratching your head. On both ends, when there is a quick decision that needs to be made, Roby has issues deciding on the right move to make.

That said, I think Roby is a worthwhile prospect. He’s an NBA level athlete, unquestionably. It looks like he’ll be able to shoot it. If the Spurs can help him learn the game at a deeper level, he has a chance to become a rotation player.

Malaki Branham

The 20th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Malaki Branham is only 78 minutes into his professional career. After shooting lights out during preseason action, the rookie has shot poorly once the bright lights were turned on. He’s 8-for-28 (28.6%) from the field and 3-for-15 (20%) from three-point range.

While we haven’t seen him much, I already really like Branham’s scoring potential. The release on his jumper is quick, he can create for himself off the dribble and his footwork is very impressive for a 19-year-old. Branham also looked like a heady passer who spots open teammates without skipping a beat.

Defensively, the rookie has a lot of work to do. At 6-foot-5, Branham has a decent amount of length and athleticism but his feet sometimes look slow and he’s too often caught off-balance by his opponent. Some of his issues can be corrected by learning better technique but I’d be shocked if he ever becomes more than an adequate defender.

Thankfully, though, Branham’s scoring potential is spicy enough that it’s not difficult to overlook his bland defensive potential and instead focus on what he can do offensively once he settles in. It’s probably unwise to make this declaration after 78 NBA minutes but it looks like Branham could one day average 20-plus points per game. 

Blake Wesley

Once Primo vanished, Blake Wesley became the team’s backup point guard. For 23 glorious minutes, the 25th pick in the 2022 draft looked really, really good. Then, regrettably, Wesley’s knee buckled after an opponent ran into him and the rookie was diagnosed with a torn MCL that will likely keep him out until at least January.

In those 23 minutes, Wesley had 16 points and four assists while connecting on 6-of-9 shots from the field and 2-of-3 shots from downtown. Most pundits saw him as a shooting guard coming out of Notre Dame but he looked completely comfortable running the point.

Unmistakably, Wesley’s most impressive trait as a basketball player is his ability to create separation. He’s absurdly quick, even in halfcourt settings. Good, smart, veteran defenders had trouble staying in front of the rookie.

Beyond his quickness, Wesley’s passing was a pleasant surprise. His court vision is much better than advertised and he makes good passing decisions for a 19-year-old who hasn’t played a lot of point guard in his life.

Going forward, Wesley has some question marks; there are reasons why he fell to the 25th spot in the draft. He doesn’t have much touch on his jumper — he basically just flings it up there. He’s not a good finisher yet — learning the art of the floater is a must. He’s exciting to watch but he’s also really erratic at this stage of his career.

The great news with Wesley is he’s fearless and he has God given physical gifts that he’s not shy about using. Hopefully he recovers fully from his knee injury at some point around Christmas and then takes the reins as San Antonio’s backup point guard for the rest of the season. 

Gorgui Dieng

Gorgui Dieng was primarily brought in by the Spurs to be a positive veteran presence in the locker room. By all accounts, he’s thriving in that role. He’s a person the younger players look up to and emulate. 

On the court, Dieng has been fine. The 32-year-old is slow for today’s league but he’s physical in the paint, he rebounds and he blocks shots. Offensively, he’s a courageous passer who also has range to the three-point line. As a 6-foot-10 center, that unique collection of talents makes him a playable big man in the vast majority of situations.

Dieng isn’t going to play many minutes — he’s only played 55 minutes so far. But, then again, that’s not why he was brought in.

Charles Bassey

Although he has only played four games for the Spurs, Charles Bassey is already the talk of the town. The former San Antonio high school basketball phenom couldn’t have dreamt of a better return to South Texas. The 22-year-old is averaging 6.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.0 blocks in only 15.5 minutes per game. The 6-foot-11, 235-pound center is also 10-for-16 (62.5%) from the field, 2-for-5 on three-pointers and 8-for-11 from the line.

Yes, we’re only looking at a 62-minute sample size with this kid … but he looks incredible so far. Bassey has been beastly on the boards and looks shockingly explosive when going for blocks. He runs the court with impressive speed, he can move his feet on the perimeter and his shooting stroke looks outstanding for a player his size.

Bassey’s rate of production has been through the roof in nearly every category. Beyond the numbers, what actually impresses me most with Bassey is how much he understands what’s happening around him. In college, scouts labeled him as a center without much feel for the game. For evidence, they pointed to his anemic assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.32-to-1 as a junior. Per 36 minutes, Bassey averaged only 0.8 assists in his final season at Western Kentucky.

Back in San Antonio, Bassey is averaging 4.1 assists per 36 minutes. That statistic alone speaks to the growth of his game since he was drafted with the 53rd pick of the 2021 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Tallying points, rebounds and blocks has never been a problem for Bassey. But if he proves he can pass, shoot all the way out to the three-point line, move his feet on defense and play the game with feel, the Spurs could have one hell of a player on their hands.


Pop has been fabulous to begin the season. I’m very happy about his coaching decisions. Starting Jeremy Sochan from Day 1 was gutsy (and uncharacteristic for Pop) — but it looks like it was absolutely the right thing to do. He’s showing a lot of belief in Johnson, Vassell, Poeltl and Jones and has been rewarded with solid play. Pop has also been able to put together an adequate bench by building around the shooting provided by McDermott and Richardson.

The play-calling has been really good. Pop is putting Johnson and Vassell in spots to succeed. That duo’s strong start offensively has quite a bit to do with the overall offensive gameplan instituted by Pop.

Even if a Spurs fan entered this year with thoughts of Victor Wembanyama dancing in her mind’s eye, she has to be thrilled with many of the developments we’ve witnessed on the court thus far. Pop is guiding this young team exquisitely and has helped create a fun, team-first, energetic style of play that has made this the most entertaining Spurs team to watch in years.