A Comprehensive Preview of the Spurs Summer League Team in Sacramento

The San Antonio Spurs begin summer league action on Monday night at 7pm against the Charlotte Hornets. No, Victor Wembanyama won’t suit up for the Spurs. Monday’s game is in Sacramento and Wembanyama won’t play until the Spurs make the switch to Las Vegas Summer League. That means the earliest he could get on the court for San Antonio is on Friday.

In the meantime, the Spurs have two summer league games to play. And even though Wembanyama isn’t on the roster for the two contests in Sacramento, there are still a number of players worthy of your attention. 

Spurs Summer League Schedule

California Classic
July 3 vs. Charlotte Hornets @ 7pm CDT (ESPN)
July 5 vs. Los Angeles Lakers @ 7pm CDT (ESPN)

Las Vegas Summer League
July 7 vs. Charlotte Hornets @ 8pm CDT (ESPN)
July 9 vs. Portland Trail Blazers @ 7pm CDT (ESPN2)
July 11 vs. Washington Wizards @ 9:30pm CDT (NBA TV)
July 14 vs. Detroit Pistons @ 7:30pm CDT (NBA TV)

The Spurs will play at least one playoff game in Las Vegas. 

Roster Preview for the Spurs Summer League Team

Malaki Branham

Branham will look to build upon what he accomplished as a rookie. In 66 games, the 20th pick in the 2022 draft averaged 10.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He shot 53.9% from two-point range, 30.2% from three-point range and 82.9% at the line.

In the 32 games he started, Branham averaged 12.0 points in 26.9 minutes per game. Known as a scorer in college, he actually played quite a bit of point guard during his first season in the NBA.

Branham’s Point of Emphasis: Three-Point Percentage

Branham had some difficulty adjusting to the three-point line as a rookie. He has a clean stroke but his threes were too often short. During summer league, hopefully we see signs that Branham has extended his range. 

Blake Wesley

The Spurs picked Wesley with the 25th pick of the 2022 draft knowing full well that he was going to be a boom-or-bust project. As a rookie, he struggled mightily. In fact, his advanced statistics painted the picture that he was one of the worst players in the league.

The good news, though, is Wesley passed the eye-test with flying colors. He’s an electric athlete in the open court and can get down hill in a hurry. Even in halfcourt sets, he can create separation in the blink of an eye. Going forward, he has to transfer some of those physical talents to tangible basketball production. 

Wesley’s Point of Emphasis: Two-Point Percentage

Wise shot-selection and being able to finish his drives to the rim are clearly his two most fixable issues right now. If Wesley can add a floater and make open layups, he’ll be cooking with gas. He also needs to remove the contested mid-range jumper from his offensive repertoire. 

Julian Champagnie

After getting claimed off waivers in February, Champagnie played very well for the Spurs in 15 games. The 22-year-old averaged 9.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in only 18.8 minutes per game. He hit 45.4% of his field goals, 40.2% of his three-pointers and 82.4% of his free throws.

In the final five games of the season, Champagnie averaged 20.0 points and 6.2 rebounds and hit 45.2% of his three-pointers. His impressive string of games was enough for the Spurs to reward him with a four-year, $12 million contract. San Antonio didn’t waste any time locking him up to a long-term deal because he’s a 6-foot-7 wing who can shoot and seems to have a natural understanding of how to score — and that’s basically the most sought-after player-type in the entire association these days.

Champagnie’s Point of Emphasis: Scoring Rate

After giving Champagnie a $12 million deal, the Spurs will hope to continue to see signs that he can score on a consistent basis. He never shot three-pointers as well in college or in the G League as he did during his 15-game stint at the end of last season. As long as he can put points on the board in summer league, San Antonio will feel pleased about their investment.

Sidy Cissoko

The Spurs selected Cissoko with the 44th overall selection in the 2023 draft. After playing professionally overseas, the native of France spent last season with the G League Ignite. At about 6-foot-7 and 224 pounds, the 19-year-old is a physical player who doesn’t hesitate to throw his body around. 

Cissoko fouled too much and didn’t rebound enough while with the Ignite but he flashed an intriguing amount of talent and never backed down from a challenge.

Cissoko’s Point of Emphasis: Passing

Cissoko isn’t a special athlete compared to others in the NBA. His shooting is also a bit of a question mark. That said, Cissoko appears to be a really good passer for a wing. If that passing ability translates to this level, that could be the attribute that allows him to carve out his NBA niche. During summer league, I’ll be keeping a close eye on his ability to see the court and make the right passes.

Dominic Barlow

Last season, Barlow was on a two-way contract. This season, it appears likely that he will spend a second year on a two-way contract. His rookie campaign was mostly forgettable until the very last game of the regular season. In that affair, Barlow exploded for 21 points and 19 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks.

As a physical specimen, Barlow appears to have what it takes to make it. At 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, he’s very quick on his feet, seemingly never gets tired, and has good timing for blocks and rebounds. 

Barlow’s Point of Emphasis: Aggression

After coming out of the Overtime Elite, Barlow was a really timid rookie. However, that was understandable because he was behind in terms of his readiness for the NBA. Now that he has a season under his belt, we need to see a lot more aggression out of Barlow. On both ends of the court, he needs to move with purpose and act like he belongs.

Sir’Jabari Rice

Shortly after the 2023 draft, the Spurs inked Sir’Jabari Rice to a two-way contract. The guard out of the University of Texas is primarily known for having one of the best pump-fakes in the sport. However, he’s more than that. Rice is a very smart player who makes big-time shots. 

Rice is turning 25 years old soon so he needs to show a lot of maturity during summer league. If he’s going to make it, he needs to prove to be an advanced prospect. 

Rice’s Point of Emphasis: Playmaking

Rice averaged only 2.0 assists last season. It’s highly likely that he’ll need to play point guard in the NBA so he’ll need to exhibit playmaking skills with the ball in his hands. If he can create looks for himself and others in summer league, his two-way spot on the team is probably safe. 

Charles Bediako

A native of Canada, Bediako is a 7-foot center who thrives on the defensive end of the court. As a sophomore at Alabama, he was one of the best minute-for-minute defenders in all of college basketball. His length and timing combine to swallow up those who are foolish enough to challenge him in the paint.

That said, there’s a reason why I didn’t mention his offensive until the second paragraph. Bediako is about as primitive as it gets on this end. If it’s not a wide open dunk, it’s asking for too much. To make matters worse, he hit only about one-third of his free throws.

Bediako’s Point of Emphasis: Interior Defense

Bediako’s offense is a lost cause at this point of his development. During summer league, I’m mostly interested in seeing if his defensive dominance translates. If he shows himself to be a defensive stopper, the Spurs might go out of their way to try to keep him around. 

Chaundee Brown

Brown played 20 games for the Austin Spurs last season. In 30 minutes per game, he averaged 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists. For Brown to catch San Antonio’s eye, he’s going to have to be hitting threes. He’s pretty good inside the arc but needs to hit three-pointers to take the next step.

Javante McCoy

McCoy spent most of last season in the Lakers system and ended up playing 26 games for their G League team. In 25.9 minutes per game, he averaged 14.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. McCoy also hit 52.4% of his shots from the field, 37% of his threes and 76.7% at the line.

On paper, McCoy looks like one of the most talented players on the Spurs summer league team this year who doesn’t already have a contract with San Antonio.

Seth Millner

Millner went undrafted in the 2023 draft after averaging 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 32.5 minutes per game at Toledo. He’s a 6-foot-6 forward who actually hit 42% of his three-pointers last season. He may be worth keeping an eye on.

Josh Carlton

Carlton played for the Spurs last season in summer league. He’s a talented, team-first center but he just doesn’t have the athleticism to make it in the NBA. He’s not especially long but he is especially slow. 

Justin Kier

Kier is a 25-year-old 6-foot-4 guard who played with the Austin Spurs last season. In 19 games, he averaged 8.8 points, 5.0 assists and 3.6 assists in 28.5 minutes per game. If the other point guards on the summer league team falter, he could get a shot at running the squad. 

Sadik Kabaca

Kabaca is a 6-foot-10 center out of Turkey. The 22-year-old started shooting three-pointers at a relatively high volume last season. That skill should make him at least somewhat noteworthy during summer league.

Erik Stevenson

Stevenson played at West Virginia last season. He averaged 15.4 points in 26 minutes per game. He shot a lot of threes and hit them at 37.9%. Stevenson is only 6-foot-4 so it’ll be interesting to see if he can get his shot off in summer league.

Justin Gorham

As a senior at Houston in 2021, Gorham averaged 8.4 points and 8.6 rebounds. Since then, he has played in Germany, Israel and Lithuania. Rebounding continues to be his most notable strength as a basketball player.

Logan Johnson

As a fifth-year senior at St. Mary’s, Johnson averaged 14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists last season. Unfortunately, he’s not a good shooter, which especially hurts because he’s a 6-foot-2 guard.