By Nathan Kudla, Special to Project Spurs
Derrick White: No: 4 Pos: G Height: 6-5 Weight: 195 Age: 24
Summer League Observations: White shows great ability operating as the primary ballhandler in pick and rolls, can score on all three levels or find the open man depending on what the defense gives him. He was getting the “summer league MVP” treatment with constant double teams on high pick and rolls but showed great composure and passing out of it consistently; this will change substantially when he is in the regular season and is surrounded by teammates that will allow him to operate more freely in the pick and roll.
Game Notes: Did not play (right hamstring strain)
- Without White’s ballhandling and passing ability, the Spurs had only 16 assists but had 14 turnovers.
Lonnie Walker IV: No: 18 Pos: G Height: 6-5 Weight: 204 Age: 19
Summer League Observations: Walker is looking more and more relaxed every game this summer league. In his debut, he seemed to look a little lost at times and forced up a lot of shots off the dribble in going 3-of-16 from the field including 1-of-6 from deep. However, as the summer league progressed, he started to look more comfortable operating within the system and getting to his spots better while showcasing his jumper and athleticism.
When the primary ballhandler in pick and rolls however, Walker was often indecisive on whether to pull up for a jumper or to attack the basket, instead opting for low percentage in-between floaters. After suffering an injury against the Bucks, Walker was held out of the Suns game.
Game Notes vs. Bucks: 5 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists
- Made a concerted effort to be more of a distributor than a scorer. Was driving the lane looking to pass first rather than score which led to some nice assists but also some out of control passing.
- Decision making on the fast break has been shaky, resulting in a bad pull-up jumper and a turnover.
- Shot wasn’t falling, but he was moving well within the offense in the half court.
- Did a great job sticking to his man on defense but miscommunication led to a few open looks.
- Injury bug keeps biting. Left in the 4th after a right ankle sprain and went straight to the locker room.
Chimezie Metu: No: 10 Pos: F Height: 6-10 Weight: 225 Age: 21
Summer League Observations: Metu brings a unique blend of size and athleticism the Spurs have not had in a big since Dewayne Dedmon wore the black & silver. Although Metu’s lighter frame has allowed him to be bullied in the low post at times during the summer league, his athleticism and his surprisingly good mid-range jumper have been turning a lot of heads. He has been at his best when rolling to the rim and showing off his ridiculous leaping ability with emphatic dunks and blocks. Because of the current lack of athletic big men that can roll to and protect the rim well, Metu could end up seeing some meaningful minutes in San Antonio.
Game Notes: Did not play (left wrist sprain)
Jaron Blossomgame: No: 15 Pos: F Height: 6-7 Weight: 220 Age: 24
Summer League Observations: Blossomgame has the prototypical size and athleticism of an NBA small forward or small-ball power forward. He doesn’t have the most consistent jump shot but does a great job staying within himself and taking what’s given. He does a great job setting his feet and firing with confidence when he’s open on the perimeter. Whether he’s setting good screens to free up his teammates or making timely cuts to the rim for open dunks, Blossomgame is at his best when he’s is operating off the ball. He also excels at following shots to crash the glass for offensive rebounds and eye-popping putbacks. Blossomgame could be a dark horse to earn a roster spot at backup SF/PF for the Spurs with the recent departure of Kyle Anderson.
Game Notes vs Bucks: 19 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist
- Great hustle and followed shots well leading to three offensive boards.
- Moved feet and switched well on defense.
- Great job protecting the rim with two blocks.
- Inconsistent in terms of finishing around the rim. Finished well through contact but also missed a fairly large amount of close layups.
- Had a crucial travel in overtime when he turned down a look from thre.
Game Notes vs Suns: 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
- Did a good job moving to the open space on the floor, the ball just wasn’t finding him a whole lot.
- The Spurs’ lack of a dependent primary ballhandler due to the injuries to White and Walker IV has affected Blossomgame’s ability to get the ball in better scoring situations.
- Had a couple good physical drives but also had sloppy finishes around the rim.
- Good athletic rebounds again where he was able to high-point the ball well.
Amida Brimah: No: 37 Pos: C Height: 7-0 Weight: 230 Age: 24
Summer League Observations: Brimah has all the measurables you look for in a rim protector; he has great size and athleticism that allows him to get way up for some emphatic dunks and blocks. However, his foot speed and defensive discipline need more work as he gets beat off the dribble a little more than you would like for a rim protector. Brimah also often gets bullied and outrebounded under the rim due to his lighter frame and tendency to stand up straight and lose leverage in rebounding situations. This is a relatively common problem for 7-footers though and can be easily remedied by getting lower when boxing out opponents.
Game Notes vs Suns: 8 points, 3 rebounds
- Ran the floor extremely well including a highlight reel chase-down block on one end and alley-oop on the other.
- Was at his best when rolling to the rim. Ran pick and roll sets really well, taking good angles to the rim and finishing.
- Got pushed out consistently by Cooley in rebounding situations. Needs to get better at establishing and holding position under the rim.
- Did a good job with help defense on drives leading to blocks and altered shots.
- Was replaced by Cory Jefferson to start the 2nd half.
Cory Jefferson: No: 34 Pos: F Height: 6-9 Weight: 215 Age: 27
Game Notes vs Bucks: 2 points
- Only played 4 minutes today.
- Did a good job switching on defense and getting back to his original man.
- Slow feet on pick and roll defense allowed the roll man to get behind him too often.
- Had a bit of tunnel vision when shooting. Had an okay look from three but missed his teammate right next to him who was wide open.
View the original article on Project Spurs: Spurs Summer League 2018: Observations vs Bucks and Suns