LAS VEGAS — Cory Joseph's career has been anything but consistent. He spent much of his first year and about half of his second year in the D-League playing for the Austin Toros. Midway through last season, he seemed to be in San Antonio for good and by the end of the season had wrestled back up point guard duties away from Nando De Colo.
He even consistent minutes in the playoffs, but the rotation tightened up towards the end of the Finals, even with Tony Parker suffering from a leg injury, exhaustion or some combination of the two, Joseph's role shrank. In the final three games, the second year guard logged one minute total.
If Summer League is any indication, the San Antonio Spurs are ready for Joseph to graduate from a guy still getting his feet wet to NBA veteran. During his first 2013 Summer League game, Joseph led the Spurs with 19 points and five assists. He also hit the game winning shot just seconds after the Bobcats took the lead on a Jeff Taylor three-pointer. Perhaps it's his time running the D-League show paying off or his playoff experience, but Joseph stayed calm and put the Spurs in position to win the game.
"Well no time outs so I got the ball and we were going to get a screen," Joseph said. "I see them looking for the screen so I rejected it and I was bound to hit one of them, you know, I was missing all game so I was bound to hit one."
It's just Summer League, but that shot means a lot for a young player. That poise and aggressiveness is what the Spurs are looking for from Joseph. Summer League head coach Ime Udoka said Joseph's late game heroics are a plus for Joseph and the rest of the squad's confidence in him moving forward.
"To get that late steal that they got and then to hit that three, for us to keep our composure with 12 seconds left knowing we had no timeouts, he gets us down and gets us in to the set that he wants," Udoka said. "And that shows growth on his part. Obviously we didn’t panic. I think he took his time getting it down and he used a nice pump fake to get a wide open shot, so that’s big for him, but I’m glad our team bounced back."
The Spurs next challenge comes Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors at 9:30 PM. It's not televised so make sure you follow Project Spurs for in game updates on Twitter and a recap once the game is done.