Quote by Nba preview – Rookie & Sophomore (Southwest)
We finished our evaluation of the rookies and sophomore in the Eastern Conference last week (if you need to catch up just follow these links for the Atlantic, Southeast and Central Division). After checking the Northwest Division, it is time to look at the Southwest Division.
San Antonio Spurs
Sophomore: Jonathon Simmons
Rookie: Dejounte Murray, Davis Bertans, Patricio Garino, Livio Jean-Charles, Nicolas Laprovittola, Ryan Arcidiacono, Bryn Forbes
When Jonathon Simmons reached the Nba, it felt like a fairy tale: the ex Houston Cougar found himself in the Abl and seriously considered quitting basketball before giving it one last try. He paid 150$ for an open tryout with the Austin Toros in 2013, won the spot on the roster and became a starter by the beginning of the regular season. Two years later, he was averaging 14 minutes per game for the San Antonio Spurs, and playing well enough to convince the team management to exercise the option on his second year. He will have his share of minutes again this season.
With the 29th pick the Spurs selected Dejounte Murray last June, who fell unexpectedly on draft night. He played only one season in college and ended up in one of the team most suited to refine and unleash his talent in the league. His body is made for the new era of the Nba, as a 6-5 PG with a 6-11 wingspan and the talent to be the future point-guard in San Antonio as he was in Washington. He will spend most of the season on the sideline, learning the nuances of the game and refining his skills, working a lot with shooting coach Chip Engelland, the best in the league at his craft.
Livio Jean-Charles and Davis Bertans are two of the many stashed players the Spurs have abroad, the 28th pick in 2013 and the 42nd pick in 2011 respectively. The Spurs normally have long rotations and the two rookies are likely to find minutes this season, but mostly filling gaps. Bertans might at least be able to stretch the floor: he showed a reliable three point shot when playing for Baskonia in Spain, but his knee injuries are a concern. As for Jean-Charles, he might find himself in San Antonio because the team wants to monitor his development from up close. He seems to have plateaued in his growth since he was drafted: the last two years he played for the team owned by Tony Parker in France and he became a starter last season, but was nothing more than a role-player. The goal for the Spurs is still to reach the Conference Finals, but the first season without Tim Duncan might be a transition year and the two Europeans might be here to understand if they can be part of the new era of the organization or they should be let go.
Considering the amount of guards at roster, including the last two members of the big three, signing Garino and Laprovittola was a surprising choice. The two Argentinians were both with the national team in Rio last summer but while Garino played four years at Washington and showed he can be a good shooter from beyond the arc, Laprovittola comes from a year in Europe where he split his season between Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania and Estudiantes in Spain. It is unclear how they will fit, and the Spurs have to get back to 15 contracts by season opener, so some of the players at training camp are not going to make it. Speaking of, Ryan Arcidiacono and Bryn Forbes are unlikely to be part of the team, but they might end up with the Austin Spurs in the D-League.