The Spurs have announced their Summer League roster via press release:
While some of the names are what we expected and reported on, there were some surprises. Veterans on guaranteed contracts like Austin Daye and Jeff Ayres don't usually take part of Summer League. It makes some sense to have them in Las Vegas, considering they were the last two Spurs on the roster to join the team before Kyle Anderson. But it's unusual nonetheless. There are two possible interpretations: 1) the Spurs simply want them to get some more reps before training camp, so they are in top shape for the season, or 2) this is an audition and if they don't show improvement they could be moved to create an extra roster spot.
The first scenario seems much more likely, as there are 15 players on the SL roster, meaning Ayres and Daye might not even suit up and instead could be there just to train and absorb as much about the system as they can before joining the team for training camp.
Both Kyle Anderson and Bryce Cotton will be there and they are the two players that we should pay the most attention to. Anderson will almost certainly be with the big team after training camp but if reports about Cotton's deal is actually dependent on his making the team, building comfort with the system in Vegas will be a must. Expect coach Udoka to give these two plenty of minutes, possibly in different roles from game to game to see what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The Spurs' Future Protection Program will be represented by three draft-and-stash prospects: Marcus Denmon, DeShaun Thomas and the always enigmatic Ryan Richards.
Denmon played in the Turkish league last season, averaging 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assist with his team Tofas Bursa. The combo guard bounced back after a knee surgery in 2013 but still remains an inefficient volume scorer. Perhaps in a smaller role he could up his field goal and three point percentage to respectable heights and garner some consideration to be Mills' temporary replacement. But he will be likely starting behind Cotton for that spot.
DeShaun Thomas had a great first season abroad, playing for French club Nanterre. He averaged almost 12 points and four rebounds and shot a respectable 36% from three on more than four attempts a game. The problem with Thomas is he is still not quick enough to play small forward and is a bit on the small size to play the four full time. He got minutes at both forward spots in France and while he continued to score prolifically, he didn't stuff the stat sheet. While Thomas has talent, it's more a question of finding a niche role.
Richards -- who has great physical tools at 6'11" with solid mobility -- played last season for a mediocre team in the Greek league. He averaged 9.5 points and five rebounds in almost 25 minutes per game while shooting below 40% from the floor and below 30% from three. That didn't stop him from jacking up shots, averaging over nine field goal attempts per game. Richards is physically gifted and has some talent but never seems to put it all together. At 23-years-old, he's still young enough to have a chance to pan out. Hopefully, he shows growth in Vegas.
Of course this being the Spurs, the British Richards is not the only international player on the roster. Swedish wing Viktor Gaddefors from the Italian league, French combo forward Nobel Boungou-Colo and Spaniard center Xavi Rey will also wear Spurs colors in Vegas.
Gaddefors has role player potential thanks to his physical tools and all around game (6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and one steal per game last season). Boungou-Colo averaged 15 points, five rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting almost 40% from three. If his ability to hit outside shots proves to be more than a fluke (he wasn't a good shooter prior to this past season) he could be an apt replacement for Matt Bonner. Xavi Rey, meanwhile, is a prototypical defensively-oriented center who boards well, block shots and finishes well. He played for the Grizzlies two Summer Leagues ago and averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds a game.
Rounding out the roster are former Lakers guard Darius Morris, sharp-shooter Trey McKinney-Jones (currently playing in the Orlando Summer League with the Heat), Melvin Ejim (playing for the 76ers), JaMychal Green and Vander Blue. Out of that group, Green should be familiar to some Spurs fans, as he played in the 2012/13 season for the Toros. He then moved on to the French league, where he apparently worked on his three point shot (13-36, 36%) while continuing to rebound at an extremely high clip.
With so many guards already under contract it's hard to imagine Blue, McKinney-Jones or Morris garnering attention from the Spurs' front office but a good enough showing could change that. Similarly, Ejim seems to be a long shot with so many other more seasoned forwards ahead of him on the roster, but he could surprise if he can bring it on the defensive end.
Before we get to the schedule, let's have a look at Kyle Anderson's first appearance in silver and black -- even if it's just in practice togs.
Friday, July 11 Spurs-Kings 9 PM
Sunday, July 13 Spurs-Cavs 3 PM
Monday July 14 Spurs-Pelicans 5:30 PM
After that, the schedule will be determined by seeding.
Official Press Release
The San Antonio Spurs today announced their roster that will participate in the 2014 NBA Summer League, which runs from July 11-21 in Las Vegas.
This year's roster includes two players that were on the Spurs 2013-14 Championship roster, including Jeff Ayres and Austin Daye. The Spurs 2014 first round draft pick (30th overall) Kyle Anderson will be on the roster along with former draft picks Deshaun Thomas (2013 - 58th overall), Marcus Denmon (2012 - 59th overall) and Ryan Richards (2010 - 49th overall). Recently signed rookie Bryce Cotton will also be making his debut in Silver and Black. Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka will serve as head coach during summer league play.
Complete coverage of the Spurs summer league action, including box scores, photos and game summaries, will be available at spurs.com.
Prior to departing for Las Vegas, the Spurs will hold several practices at the Spurs practice facility.