The San Antonio Spurs have been sending Cory Joseph back and forth from San Antonio to the Austin Toros for the past two years. The experience may have ruined the confidence of a player who's goal is to play in the NBA, but Joseph is taking advantage of all the opportunities he's given.
He's had a few games playing next to the Spurs' Big 3 of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili and that will play a key in the D-League. The Spurs want him to mature and being around those three who are great players with no selfish egos, that will only help Joseph mature in the way the Spurs want him to.
Under head coach Gregg Popovich, there's expectations on what's expected of a player and that's the advantage Joseph has with the Spurs owning the Austin Toros. The Spurs mentality is all around that organization, so Joseph will mature with that influence around him.
Joseph knows if the big league Spurs call him up, he must be ready to contribute right away while the championship window is still slightly open. In an interview with RidiculousUpside.com, Joseph gave the clear message on why he's in Austin and the ultimate mission both teams have.
"For us younger guys, being able to learn from our experienced players is huge. We just like to soak it all in. To get better, it's important to take in all the different things our teammates, trainers, and coaching staff go on to tell us as we work out each and every day. As a young core, it's our job to help the "Big Three" win games."
While the Spurs have an abundance of depth in the point guard position, Tony Parker's back ups may probably be better suited to have Manu Ginobili run the offense with the second unit. Manu is very effecient on both ends of the floor, but his history tells us that he's not the most durable player nor that health is guaranteed with a deep team (a good example is when the Spurs lost both their small forwards for a few games with injuries).
The great news for Spurs fans is that Joseph seems to be motivated for the NBA and will look to play as well as he can to be with the Spurs as soon as possible. The team seems to look to already be building around younger guys and Cory can fit that bill with other young players in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. The most comforting statement that Joseph said in that interview for fans has to be about his readiness.
It's important to come down here and play hard. That way, when that NBA opportunity comes around again, you'll be ready.
Next year the Spurs' Gary Neal and Patrick Mills may not return to the team and that'll suddenly make the Spurs a whole lot thinner on the team, if you couple the rest of the free agents on the team. If that happens, the Spurs will still be in a good position with Joseph, who's looking to be a far better player by that time and will look to make a difference.
"[T]he Spurs just want me to play a lot. They want me to be a leader and see if I can lead this team to some victories. That'll help me get better."