The Spurs got the win in their first game of the Las Vegas Summer League over the Sacramento Kings, 85-69. If the words "Summer League" didn't already give away the level of basketball clumsiness that would take place in Sin City over the next couple weeks, watching only a few minutes of game will quickly remind you.
But that's not why we are interested in these contests. We follow these games to see guys compete for the last few spots on the roster, which as we saw this past season, equates to some serious playing time for the Spurs. I mostly kept an eye on the rookie and the two dudes who had a roster spot at the end of the regular season to see how they would kick off their summer play. Here's what one LVSL game showed me in these three players:
Kyle Anderson showed some poise
I try to guard my heart when watching rookies play their first Summer League game because so much can be blown out of proportion when it comes to their performance. Each newbie is trying to prove to their franchise that they didn't blow a draft pick on them. That's why I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw from Kyle Anderson on Friday night.
The rookie out of UCLA, wearing No. 1, looked to play within himself for the majority of the game. Sure, he took a couple quick contested shots coming off of screens early in the possession that could have been kicked out, but it wasn't egregious. What impressed me was how Anderson mostly played the role of the facilitator. The whole team seemed to look for him when they got in trouble, almost understanding that he could get them out of a jam. There was a level of respect that the players already had for him that speaks to how well his skill set fits the San Antonio franchise.
Anderson's point total wasn't outstanding, putting up 6 points on 3-of-7 shooting, but his 6 assists is evidence that this guy has a chance to make his mark on the Spurs roster this season. His court vision is clearly on point, as is his quick decision making which can be the difference between a threaded needle-like pass and a steal. He had a couple of his passes deflected and stolen, but they were the type of mistakes you want to see a player like him make in the Summer League.
Jeff Ayres understands his role
There were moments from last season where I just couldn't believe how much Jeff Ayres had matured. He seemed to figure out his own strength and realized what it took to be an effective big man in the NBA. In Friday's Summer League game, Ayers carried some of the maturity onto the court as if he knew he had the most legitimate league experience out of everyone wearing silver and black that night. His decisions at the low block were great, as were his finishes at the rim. J.R.W. made sure to point out that his hands still looked like they were make of bricks and couldn't handle some of the passes thrown to him, which is very (and sadly) true. But there's something to be said about the confidence a player carries with them on the court, and it's nice to see that Jeff Ayeres is jumping at the chance to play like the most experienced player on the roster.
Austin Daye missed a bunch of shots
Since the trade that sent Nando De Colo to Toronto, I've been waiting to see Austin Daye show the amount of talent that seemed prevalent in his highlight tapes, but nothing has come forward. In the first game of the Summer League, this trend continued. Daye shot 5-of-18 from the field (1-8 3PT) and looked even more ice cold than the image his stat line projects. He pulled down 9 boards, but we know that won't be an asset the Spurs will be looking to him for. It's odd for a player to lead the team in scoring and rebounding while still looking the most disappointing, but I think Austin Daye managed to accomplish that on Friday night.