Observations from Spurs’ Summer League Loss to Jazz Blue

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The San Antonio Spurs fell to 0-2 in the Salt Lake City Summer League Wednesday after being defeated 78-54 by the Utah Jazz Blue team.

Let’s look at some observations for Joshua Primo, Devin Vassell, and Joe Wieskamp from the game.

Joshua Primo – 11 points (3/8 shooting, 1/5 from 3PT, 4/4 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 6 turnovers, 20 minutes

Primo made his Summer League debut by starting at the point guard position and running the teams offense throughout the game. Here were some observation notes.

  • Good defense on a possession contesting a layup attempt at the rim in the open court. The offensive player missed the shot.
  • Made a semi-contested catch-and-shoot three pointer.
  • Turnover in the pick-and-roll.
  • Looked comfortable running the point in the open court.
  • Good court vision on one specific drive. He drove baseline from the corner, got into the paint and and threw a one handed pass on the dribble to a 3-pointer shooter at the left wing three. This is not a common pass for rookies to be able to make.
  • Another good defensive possession contesting a shot when the offensive player tried to drive by him. The offensive player missed the shot.
  • Turnover in the open court when the defender stole the ball from behind as Primo was dribbling up court.
  • Turnover in the halfcourt trying to run a pick-and-roll.
  • Scored a layup from a pick-and-roll. Got by both his defender and the switching defender to finish the layup with little contest at the rim.
  • Showed the ability to ask for a double drag screen, got a lot of room and then attempted a wide open three off the dribble, though the shot went out.
  • Ran another pick-and-roll, got by the defense and finished with a floater. The shot was goaltended, so it counted for him.
  • Turnover in the halfcourt trying to attack the defense.
  • Got switched on defense in the low post against a center. The center tried to post him up, but Primo tapped the ball out of his hands to create the turnover.

For being in his first NBA Summer League game, Primo was already the Spurs’ second leading scorer. In college he mainly played the shooting guard position and was a spot-up shooter. San Antonio wanted to see quickly what he could do running the team.

After the game, Primo said he was more excited than nervous to play in his first game.

When asked if he had a good game, Primo said, “Not really, I think I could have done a lot better keeping down the turnovers.”

“It’s next play mentality,” said Primo about not dwelling on mistakes at the NBA level and moving on to the next possession.

“It’s a great opportunity for myself,” said Primo of the Spurs already giving him an expanded role in Summer League to get experience running the point.

“I thought he showed some good things,” said Spurs Summer League Head Coach Mitch Johnson after the game of Primo’s debut. “He tried to set the pace and be aggressive.”

“I think his passing is supernatural,” continued Johnson of Primo being able to see passes most players aren’t able to see. “He can pass with both hands off the dribble, get in the paint.”

“I think he’s a versatile guy,” said Johnson of Primo. “I think he’s going to be able to pass, dribble, and shoot.”

Devin Vassell – 14 points (6/17 shooting, 0/4 from 3PT, 2/4 FT), 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 24 minutes

Even though it’s his second season, Tuesday was Vassell’s first Summer League game since there was no Summer League last year. Coach Johnson said the team wanted to see what Vassell could do with the ball in his hands at Summer League.

Here were some observation notes on Vassell’s game:

  • Good defense when an opponent tried to drive by him. The opponent missed the shot.
  • Running the pick-and-roll, Vassell was able to get to his spot in the mid-range area for a shot attempt.
  • When he stopped his dribble in the halfcourt, he took a contested fall away shot.
  • Running pick-and-roll, he made a hard drive, then stopped in the mid-range area to take the shot.
  • Scored on a layup going 1-on-1 against his defender.
  • Attacked the defense aggressively on a drive and got to the free throw line.
  • Turned the ball over trying to drive by his opponent 1-on-1.
  • Took more mid-range attempts when driving off the dribble in the halfcourt.
  • Got to the free throw line driving by his defender.
  • Threw down a dunk in the open court on a possession.

The Spurs gave Vassell a lot of chances to run the offense in an expanded role in the halfcourt. Vassell using hard dribbles and going into pull-ups shows he’s been trying to develop a way to create space and get away from his defender with the ball in his hands to take a mid-range shot.

“For it to kind of run through me is huge,” said Vassell after the game of getting to run more halfcourt possessions as the key playmaker.

Vassell said he was a little rusty after not practicing for almost a week.

“I’ve been working on ball handling, working on my 3-point shot,” said Vassell of his development this offseason. “Having the ball in my hand, making the right plays, making the right reads.”

Joe Wieskamp – 5 points (2/8 shooting, 1/4 from 3PT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 23 minutes

Wieskamp played in his second Summer League game. He started on the wing alongside Primo and Vassell. Here were some observation notes on Wieskamp’s game:

  • Missed an open spot-up three that he got wide open. The Spurs moved the ball well on the possession to find Wieskamp wide open on the possession.
  • Missed an elbow jumper off a dribble hand off. Though he missed, it was a wide open shot for him. The defender got stuck when the dribble hand off was delivered by the big.
  • Made a 3-pointer off a dribble hand off action near the 3-point line. The defender was too slow to get around the big and Wieskamp got a clean look at the shot.
  • Tried to drive in the open court against defenders in the paint and was blocked on the possession.

The Spurs’ final Salt Lake City Summer League game will take place Friday against Memphis.

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