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What we learned from the summer Spurs loss to the Pistons

What to look for when the summer league winds down

2023 NBA Summer League - San Antonio Spurs v Detroit Pistons Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

This is truly a time for basketball die hards. Most of the stars have left Las Vegas to take a vacation, or get back to their regularly scheduled offseason workout plans. NBA teams are shutting down their best young players.

Late in the summer league is when guys on the fringes really get to prove themselves. For many this is the only chance they have to get in front of NBA scouts, coaches and front offices. For the fans that can mean watching some unfamiliar faces. But those faces can become household names one day, so it’s best to pay attention.

Back in 2010, an undrafted Harvard guard by the name of Jeremy Lin had a solid showing in the summer league for the Dallas Mavericks. He put up modest stats, averaging 8 points and 2 assists in 15 minutes. But the skills he showed popped for many teams. Fast forward to the following season, and Lin was filling Madison Square Garden with fans looking to watch the “Linsanity era” of Knicks basketball.

So when Charles Bediako shows signs of defending the rim at a high level, or Seth Millner shows off his smooth jump shot, don’t be too quick to discount them because they aren’t putting up crazy stats. The NBA journey takes guys a lot of different places, and summer league is where players can flash the skills that elevate them to a career in the pros.

With just one more game in the summer league, look for some of the individual skills that these guys flash. What can someone like Javante McCoy, Erik Stevenson, or Sadik Kabaca show? That’s the story for the San Antonio Spurs as they wind things down in Vegas.


  • Dominick Barlow continues to impress in Las Vegas. He had another efficient double-double, scoring 19 points and 11 rebound on 8-12 shooting. The offensive bag is deepening by the game. It’s been impressive to watch him take guys off of the dribble, and showcase his touch in the mid-range. For Spurs fans wondering why he hasn’t gotten a full contract yet, Richard Jefferson’s comments on the broadcast revealed some of the front offices feelings. He said that Spurs CEO, R.C. Buford, told Jefferson that the Spurs don’t totally buy what Barlow’s jump shot right now, despite him hitting a high percentage of those attempts. He also mentions some skepticism that Barlow can play the 5 at the NBA level, and may not be quick enough to guard 4s. To many, Barlow’s versatility has been the key strength to his game, so it’s fascinating to hear these thoughts from the front office.
  • Sir’Jabari Rice made his summer league debut after being held out with a low-iron issue, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. He looked good in his 16 minutes of play, putting up 11 points, an assists and 3 steals. He was +7 in his minutes, showing poise in the pick and roll, speed in the open court, and some craftiness with his pump fakes and passes. With the Spurs somewhat lacking guards on the NBA roster, there is a path for someone like Rice to impress them and earn minutes next season.
  • Just going to rave about Charles Bediako for one second because I haven’t seen many talk about him. That guys is a monster around the rim. He had two blocks and six rebounds against Detroit in just 21 minutes. That’s similar to what he’s been doing all summer. Come into the game for short stints, lock down the paint, then exit. His offensive game is RAW, and you can’t expect him to do much besides run and dunk right now. But the flashes on defense and the glass have me buying Bediako finding a spot in the league one day.