Author's note: Thanks to all those who stopped by to comment on the Jessica Ghawi post. She will be missed.
It turns out players aren't the only ones out here in Las Vegas auditioning for jobs. The Spurs found out during Friday morning's shootaround there would be a coaching change for their game against the Miami Heat that night as Austin Toros assistant coach Taylor Jenkins would replace Jacque Vaughn as the team's leader. Though there's nothing official to report, word out of San Antonio camp is Vaughn was in discussions with Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins on Friday and is perhaps the front-runner for the team's head coaching job.
With no Leonard or Vaughn on the bench Friday night, San Antonio gave up a nine-point lead to begin the fourth quarter and fell to the Heat 83-78. But that really wasn't the story on this night.
If Vaughn is indeed named head coach of the Magic in the near future, it will be quite the rise through the coaching ranks. The 37-year-old former Kansas Jayhawk spent the final three years of his career in San Antonio from 2006-09 and was almost immediately inserted into Gregg Popovich's coaching chain in 2010, albeit near the bottom. But that doesn't seem to have affected his reputation as an up-and-comer in the NBA.
Given this is literally the first head coaching experience of his career, Vaughn's rise to becoming a viable candidate for the Orlando coaching job is about as meteoric as it gets. Popovich has always raved about the talented young coach and it's safe to say all this attention is due to the reputation that precedes him. And I'm sure a Pop recommendation can never hurt anyone looking for a job.
Spurs lose to Heat
It was only a Summer League game but Cory Joseph didn't seem in the mood to make that an excuse. The young guard struggled against the stingy defense of the Heat as the defending champs' summer squad took every opportunity to swarm him as he crossed the timeline. Three of his ten turnovers came on consecutive possessions late in a close game and certainly played a part in the Spurs' 83-78 loss.
Joseph had nine points and six assists to go along with the 10 turnovers but clearly seemed disappointed after the game.
"It's a good experience, but obviously we came out on the short end of the stick. It's unfortunate we couldn't win," he said. "They were double-teaming me as soon as I came over (halfcourt), so it forced me to give up the ball. They just had us out of control and we weren't running our sets."
And Joseph knows what his responsibilities are with this team. When the game got to crunch time he recognized the mistakes he made when his team needed him to lead. Despite being so young he's got a good head on his shoulders, and that's important when it's you that must shoulder much of the load offensively.
"I felt like I did a bad job down the stretch of keeping the guys calm and controlling the basketball," he said. "I'm just trying to become an extension of the coach on the court."
That's music to Pop's ears, let alone Jenkins'.
San Antonio had a shot to tie after a timeout with 16 seconds remaining. Acting coach Taylor Jenkins drew up a play to get James Anderson an open look from the perimeter, but the Heat once again attacked hard defensively.
"We were trying to set James up for the flare screen so he could come off and hit the three because he hit a couple of late shots so we were trying to set him up," Joseph said. "But it didn't work out. They were switching everything."
Three Spurs were in double figures, including Anderson's 10 points, JaMychal Green's 10 and Tyler Wilkerson's 12 points. Wilkerson and Green continue to play well for San Antonio as they combined for 10 rebounds while each playing just half the game. All five of Wilkerson's boards were offensive.
The Spurs are now 2-2 heading into their Summer League finale against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday afternoon, a game Joseph and Co. intend to take to secure a winning record in Las Vegas.
"Although we went down we were still encouraging each other," Joseph said. "This team's been together for about a week now ... so tomorrow if we so happen to be in that situation again hopefully we'll come up on the better side."
Tip-off is at 5 p.m. central time.