As the San Antonio Spurs continue their rebuilding mode, all eyes were on the young pieces from the Summer League roster.
The team finished with one of the worst records of the tournament, recording just one win in five games. Although the wins did not come, fans were able to get a glimpse of what some of the Spurs’ rookies and second-year players can bring to the table in this upcoming season without All-Star Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV.
Here are some Spurs overreactions after the conclusion of Summer League in Las Vegas.
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Spurs 2022 NBA Summer League Overreactions
The second halves and how they closed games should worry
Despite the 1-4 record, three of those losses were by less than 10 points, with two of them being by just one point. On one hand, it shows that the team was always close. On the other, it also shows how they had trouble closing the games.
The Spurs were outscored 130-102 in fourth quarters, meaning results could have been very different if the team was a little bit more efficient late in the games.
However, those losses should not worry too much because those young players are unlikely to take the big shots late in games or even play those closeout minutes. Rookies Malaki Branham, Blake Wesley and Dominick Barlow could have more minutes due to the rebuilding mode, but they are still behind players such as Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, so fans should not believe that the inability to close games will translate to the regular season.
Also, because it was Summer League, the players surrounding these Spurs rookies had little to no professional experience, just like them, meaning they could all still learn after spending some time with the veterans on the main roster.
Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley had an underwhelming Summer League
With No. 9 pick Jeremy Sochan sitting out, the other first-round picks had their chances to shine in Las Vegas. However, when looking only at box scores, both Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley did not stand out as expected.
Wesley averaged a team-high 17.0 points, but he shot poorly at 30.0% from the field and 34.4% on 3-pointers. One thing that the rookie out of Notre Dame did quite often was attack the basket, but he was always facing bigger defenders who would challenge him in the paint, resulting in a number of a bad shots. Just like in college, Wesley still struggles to be efficient, and this should be something Gregg Popovich and the coaching staff should work on.
On the other hand, Branham was too unselfish, usually trying to find his teammates for the better shot. Although this sounds like what the Spurs do, this was probably the best opportunity for the Ohio State product to really shoot the ball.
In the team’s last game and only victory, Branham led the team with 23 points, two assists and two rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies, shooting 53.3% from the field. He also made five 3-pointers, showing his catch-and-shoot ability that could be useful to help the spacing when Tre Jones and Jakob Poeltl are both on the floor.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 16, 2022
Overall, fans should not be alarmed by how San Antonio did in Summer League. Instead, they should look at what the rookies did well and think on how they could impact the team as part of the long-term future.