Summer League Dreams 17: Forbes-ing

Bryn Forbes has always been very intriguing. He is a sharpshooter in a relative slump for the year. He has not had a memorable Spurs-moment and is not the shooter of the future the average fan thinks of — that would be Davis Bertans. Forbes has managed to hang around the organization for the season, which indicates the staff like what he can brings.

That was the stage for tonight’s performance where Bryn looked like the guy from Baylor. He torched the net and displayed some dribble-drive scoring ability — is it me or does he have a little of Derrick Rose-style wide steps?

While Dejounte Murray was not particularly impressive, he attacked the middle of the floor and found shooters. This is not a bad way to play. (Please know I write that knowingly). Blossomgame and White look solid, and Davis Bertans helped carry the load as we expected. We did not see too much off-the-bounce game from him as he predicted, but more of the same long-range bombing that we expected.

More as the summer league continues.

Summer League 2017

Last season Dejounte Murray was interesting. This season he is the old veteran and Derrick White is going to be the intriguing freshman. The Spurs released the Utah Summer League Roster this week.

Via Spurs.com:

Some observations

  • Murray is younger than Derrick White
  • So many 90s babies
  • Bertans, Forbes, Murray are the players to watch. Simmons balled out in two straight summer leagues and now is getting paid.
  • Another go ’round for Livio-Jean Charles
  • Will Hardy alone coaching. :(.

Clipped

I do not consider the Clippers a contender, and have not for a few years. Because of that I am always surprised that they give the Spurs so much trouble. My surprise is probably my own fault for underrating them. That said, I think it is more a matter of matching up than it is pure talent. For whatever reason, the Clips are blown out by the Warriors — even this KD version. In this way to early moment, the only way LAC is getting to the Finals is if the Spurs do the dirty work of eliminating Golden State for them first.

It is really way early, but if we were overly reasonable we wouldn’t be watching regular season basketball at all.

The Game

The Spurs started out unsustainably hot. Gasol and Aldridge hit threes, for goodness sake. Sure, they can hit midrange jumpers with consistency, and have range to 23 feet but if we are relying on them to rain threes on squads we are done. It was good to see the squad looking crisp in that 10-0 run to start. Then Doc Rivers called timeout and LA went on a run of their own.

The offense didn’t look as crisp after that, partly helped by the refs’ tendency to not give Kawhi the contact fouls he has been feasting on, but the real concern for everyone was the transition defense. Chris Paul put on a show in that first quarter in which the Clips scored 39. He did that classic point guard thing where he led the break and found a trailing Blake Griffin for dunks. Multiple times.

Concerning Things And Matchups

The Clips match up well because Blake and Jordan are about equal to the Spurs’ big men. So the Spurs then have no comparative advantage inside. Jordan’s size and strength make it tough for Aldridge and Gasol to bully their way to buckets, and Gasol. On the other end, Blake can work over anyone we put on him on the perimeter especially when his jumper is on. Oh yeah and I mentioned him running free for fast break buckets. All of this is helped by Chris Paul, who is savvy enough to make up for the low basketball IQ that some of the Clippers players have. Hell, he makes Deandre Jordan a threat offensively.

All that said, the Spurs are not as bad as they played. While both teams played the night before, San Antonio was the only squad missing two starters. The defensive rotations are still slightly delayed because of confusion, and the substitution patterns are a work in progress.

When Danny Green and Tony get back some of those things will work themselves out. Tony Parker is not an All-Star threat anymore, but he still knows the defensive rotations inside and out. Meanwhile everyone else is getting better and these kinds of games are invaluable in producing the deep benches that the Spurs are famous for.

Unscientific List of Guys Who Caught My Eye Tonight

  • Lapprovíttola is fun to watch. He has no fear, and is only going to be a bigger part of the Spurs going forward.

  • Jonathan Simmons really gets lost defensively sometimes. All those highlights you see of him do not show the reasons he was in the dog house last year. That kind of stuff. I still like him but I still noticed it

  • Every time Bertāns shoots it I know it will go in. I am surprised when it does not. I like Dāvis Bertāns.

  • I know this is a slight contradiction but LMA was 3/3 from 3. This is a return to his Portland days when he was hitting them regularly.

Youngins Getting Some Run

This blog was intrigued with Dewayne Dedmond. He possessed the athletic ability and soft hands that is prized in the modern NBA. Offensively he can catch and finish at the rim and on defense he is an off-the-ball shot blocker.

Tonight he displayed a jumper that I honestly did not know existed. I am liking the addition more every day.

Our Spurs played their home opener and had the routine first game mistakes. By that I mean the clock operator messed up to begin the game. The squad never really looked threatened as Patty Mills basically led the charge as Tony and Manu rested. Kawhi put on a show later as the second half began and let the rest of the squad determine the game.

A fun sequence: Anthony Davis pulling a turnaround jumper on LMA, and Aldridge immediately returning that with one of his own on the other end. Nicolas Laprovittola had himself a game.* He showed flashes of young Manu, taking guys off the dribble with crafty hesitation moves and one-handed scoops in traffic.

*_Did you know he is one of only two Spurs to ever wear 27?_

David Lee is a blog-favorite now. I hated his over-hustle with every team he has played for but really appreciate it on our squad. He is one of those guys. If you have watched him you know he has more than a motor. His touch and his passing ability are well-known throughout the league and put him in good company on this squad. In the late third/early fourth shift he managed to drop a nice dime to Laprovittola on a give/go and later Nico found him on a ridiculously perfect outlet pass. Lee leaked out on a three and beat the defense deep.

David West was really good in spurts for the team last season, but count me among those that were nonplussed to see him leave. David Lee is not the swiftest defender, but again the hustle, the skill, and the basketball IQ are perfect for this second unit that needs more scoring aside from Patty shooting and Jonathan Simmons dunking. Effort points count the same as Kawhi’s midrange jumpers.

In the fourth quarter we saw Murray, Forbes, Bertans, Simmons and Laprovittola close it out and there was some fun had. Bertans showed some defense, his shooting, while Jonathan Simmons enjoyed being the focal point of the offense.

The Spurs are playing well and NO was coming off no rest so really the only way they were losing this was if something awful happened. Did we learn much tonight? Yes, a little. The beginnings of the next generation of Spurs regulars are getting some great time in a winning environment. If you have to learn on the job, this is the way to do it and not like Kyrie Irving did or Brow is doing now. Without the right attitude, it can be soul-crushing.

Next up: at Heat 10.30.16

Roster Moves and Prepping For A Rebuild

The Spurs are making moves.

> Happy to tell you guys that I’ll be coming back to the Spurs for another season. #backhome

— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) July 7, 2016
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Manu is back.

Tim is probably (eek) going to retire. Pau is coming to the River Walk. Boban, meme star is gone, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein and so the Spurs “replaced” him with Dewayne Dedmon, formerly of Orlando, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo’s The Vertical

While Dedmon doesn’t compare amazingly well to Boban statistically, he is intriguing. Intriguing the way Boban was, just in a different way. Boban was freakishly big. Which feels insulting to write about a human but I mean, just look. The Spurs simply couldn’t match the Pistons offer sheet and picked up a bargain big man who will be useful. He can run the floor and finish above the rim fairly spectacularly. While the Spurs are losing Tim (likely) and West, they are gaining mobility and height, and youth. Remember Pau is five years younger than Tim.

That’s the positive outlook of the post-Durant scramble to build rosters. While here in San Antonio we are used to “rebuilding” years of 50+ wins, feeling outside of the championship favorite cool person table is not fun. If you want to feel a little better about it just remember that the 2011 Mavericks pulled off an upset against a super team. So did the 2004 Pistons. So yeah. Hope.

More on Dedmon: He’s a hard worker who has improved every year he’s been in the league. He is pretty good on the pick-and-roll and likes to block shots spectacularly. While that is fun, having an energy guy to run the floor and get easy buckets is basically a poor-man’s Steven Adams. A two-year deal for $6 million is a steal. I love this move for days. From Yahoo:

Dedmon has carved a niche in the league becuase of his defenisve motor and ability to finish at the rim.

I’ll take that.

Meanwhile, the Spurs are looking to fill out the roster with some of those draft-and-stash guys we’ve seen glimpses of the last few years. Guys like Livio Jean-Charles. He’s also young, can run, and could use some time learning from a future HOF center and a All-Star C/F. You know, guys like Pau and LMA.

The team is also expected to sign Davis Bertans this summer. He’s a shooter and has some game. Basically younger, more mobile Matt Bonner.

Bertans, Charles, and Dedmon are the makings of a lottery team if we started these guys or depended on them for major minutes. They should be a part of a younger, more athletic bench that supports the MVP-candidate, All-Star PF, and HOF Center, and aging Spurs Legends as they lead this team to somewhere in the 50+ win range. Although I may be underselling it a bit, apparently.

Wins Projections based on roster moves:

> Here’s a very (very) early wins projection for the 2017 season based on the current @Rotoworld_BK depth charts. pic.twitter.com/D4nGWW0SvV

— Kostya Medvedovsky (@kmedved) July 6, 2016
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