The San Antonio Spurs enter tonight’s summer league affair with an overall record of 4-1. For the Spurs to advance to the playoffs in the Las Vegas Summer League, they need a big, convincing win over the Detroit Pistons.
If San Antonio advances to the playoffs, they could have two more summer league games. However, even if they don’t advance, they’re guaranteed at least one more game.
Who is Playing for the Spurs Against the Pistons?
First of all, Victor Wembanyama remains out. After playing in two summer league games, the Spurs have shut him down. He won’t be seen in a Spurs uniform again until preseason.
The Spurs have also decided to shut down Malaki Branham. Last game, a win over the Washington Wizards, Branham scored 29 points in 28 minutes. He was 12-for-20 from the field and 5-for-6 from three-point range. Like Wembanyama, Branham won’t be seen again in a Spurs uniform until preseason.
In good news for the Silver and Black, Sir’Jabari Rice is expected to make his summer league debut tonight. The Spurs signed Sir’Jabari Rice to a two-way contract shortly after the 2023 NBA Draft. A guard out of the University of Texas, Rice has been on the sidelines due to medical reasons that were discovered during his physical.
With Branham out, there’s a legitimate chance that Rice will start in Branham’s spot.
Who Will Carry the Load for the Spurs?
With Wembanyama and Branham watching from the sidelines, three players will be asked to pick up the slack for San Antonio: Julian Champagnie, Dominick Barlow and Blake Wesley.
Champagnie started summer league play on fire but has cooled off lately. For the Spurs to be successful, they’ll need Champagnie to rediscover his shooting stroke.
Barlow has been a reliable presence in the middle. His outside shooting has been a revelation and his athleticism has been a game-changer. Blake has been up-and-down in summer league action but his highs have been impressive and he has obviously been improving day by day.
Betting Guide: Spurs vs. Pistons
The Pistons are favored by 4.5 points and the over/under is set at 182 points. While being without Webmanyama and Branham doesn’t exactly help matters, the Spurs have enough summer league depth to hang. As long as Champagnie, Barlow and Wesley suit up, San Antonio should be fine. For that reason, put your money on the Spurs to either win the game or lose by four points or less.