In their final Summer League game of 2023, the shorthanded Spurs fought tooth and nail with the Pistons in a fun, defensive-minded game. After a slow start, they used an 18-5 run to close the first half and take the lead, and for most of the second half they kept Detroit at arm's length, but the Spurs finally started looking gassed down the stretch and ended up falling 73-79.
- The Spurs entered the game having to win by 27 points if they wanted to advance to the Summer League playoffs via the tie-breaker of point differential, but if they actually cared, they wouldn’t have shut down Victor Wembanyama and Malaki Branham and benched Julian Champagnie, arguably the MVP of the SL team. Seeing all of those guys thrive was fun, but the fact is the Spurs have seen all they needed to see, and there’s no point in wearing them out any further.
- Blake Wesley was only Spur left who got regular minutes last season (when healthy), and it wasn’t his finest outing. He finished the night with 10 points on 3-17 shooting, and that dreaded assist-to-turnover ratio was 1:3. Perhaps outside of Dominick Barlow, he came into Summer League with the most to prove, and he leaves in the same position. He definitely showed improvement in some aspects from last season, like finishing at the rim, but he still has a long way to go.
- Sir’Jabari Rice finally made his Summer League debut after missing the first five games with an iron deficiency. Even though he only finished with 1 assist (along with 11 points on 4-8 shooting), he did a good job of initiating the offense and used his long arms to bother opponents on the other end with 3 steals. He’s a good undrafted pickup for the Spurs.
- Sidy Cissoko’s basketball IQ is high, and you can see it when watching him. His passing is on point, he knows where to be on defense, and he drives to the basket with a purpose. If he can learn to create his own shot as well as he creates for others, he will be a two-way force.
- Dominick Barlow was the player of the game for the Spurs, finishing with a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double on 8-12 shooting. If anyone had more to prove in SL than Wesley, it was him, and he more than proved his worth. I just hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him in a Spurs jersey. Some changes will have to be made to make room for him on the regular roster, but he’s earned it.
Thank you for spending Summer League here with us at Pounding the Rock! Like always, we will have plenty of content all summer long, even as we enter the doldrums of the offseason, so be sure to stick around. The addition of Wemby to the club has made for the most exciting summer for the Spurs since at least 2015, maybe even 1997, and October can’t get here soon enough!