Preseason: Wemby, Vassell Shine; Sochan at Point vs Heat


The San Antonio Spurs were back in action for the preseason Friday evening, as they hosted the Miami Heat in San Antonio. The Spurs were without Keldon Johnson, Zach Collins, and Doug McDermott.

The Heat meanwhile were without almost their entire regular season rotation, with 10 players out for the game. When the final buzzer sounded, the Spurs walked off the floor with a comfortable 16-point win to bring their preseason record to 1-1.

Here were some observations from the game.

Wemby Impressive in Second Preseason Game

Victor Wembanyama continues to impress in his preseason play. In 23 minutes (3 quarters once more), Wembanyama finished with a team high 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, and 3 blocks.

On offense, Wembanyama continued to show the wide variety of ways he can score the basketball, as well as how he can draw attention from the defense to find his teammates.

Wembanyama displayed turn-around fadeaways, side-step dribbles into pull-ups, spot-up shooting, and of course, dunking even when defenders were in his way.

Wembanyama scored 8 points off dunks without missing near the rim, as he used a eurostep on the break to dunk with 1-hand, finished with a 2-handed dunk when his defender fell down, and he received an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Tre Jones.

One of Wembanyam’s highlight dunks was when he had the ball near the rim, Thomas Bryant was in front of the rim, and Wemabanyama stretched out his arm and finished over Bryant with a left-handed dunk.

Throughout the game the Spurs allowed Wembanyama to bring the ball up the floor several times like a point guard, and on a few of his scoring possessions, he was initiating in the halcourt as the pick-and-roll ball handler, as players like Charles Bassey and Cedi Osman set screens for him.

Defensively, the Spurs had Wembanyama play both inside and outside. In some lineups, he played the 4, where he was outside on the wing guarding players like Haywood Highsmith while Bassey played the 5.

In other lineups, Wembanyama played the 5 alongside Sochan at the 4, where he was matched up guarding Bryant or Orlando Robinson (a center) in these lineups.

Wembanyama blocked three shots in the game, where opponents were almost changing the arc of their shot to get the ball over Wembanyama’s arms, but even still, he blocked three of those attempts.

Vassell on Fire From Three

Devin Vassell caught fire from three, after he finished with 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including going 6-of-7 from outside. All 6 of Vassell’s threes were from the arc three. He not only made his open attempts, but he also had to make some pull-up contested attempts as well.

Some of Wembanyama’s assists were from Vassell’s threes, with Wembanyama drawing the attention of the defense, he then threw the ball out to Vassell for made triples.

Sochan the Point Guard?

Jeremy Sochan returned to the lineup and started at the point guard position. Tre Jones came off the bench as the backup point guard, but, this shows that the starting lineup is far from settled before opening night, aside from Vassell starting at the 2, Wembanyama at the 4, and Collins at the 5.

Sochan didn’t play the point all night, in some lineups when Wembanyama was at the 5, he logged minutes at his main position from last season, at the 4.

In his return, Sochan finished with 10 points (4-of-10 shooting), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 turnover in 25 minutes.

An 8-Man Rotation

With some rotation players out, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich mainly stuck with an 8-man rotation of starters Sochan, Vassell, Cedi Osman, Wembanyama, and Charles Bassey, and then off the bench, Jones, Julian Champagnie, and Malaki Branham got most of the minutes for the first three quarters.

With Sochan and Jones getting most of the point guard minutes, Blake Wesley didn’t see the floor until later in the third quarter and the fourth. Should the Spurs stick with the Sochan/Jones point guard rotation, it may be difficult for Wesley to earn minutes.

In the fourth, Wesley, Dominick Barlow, Sidy Cissoko, Devonte’ Graham, and Sandro Mamukelashvili played most of the minutes.

Charles Bediako, Khem Birch, and Sir’Jabari Rice all didn’t play in the game. For Birch, he has yet to play in a San Antonio uniform since being acquired via trade last season.

As for when the Spurs’ full rotation or starting lineup will be available, that is tough to tell right now, with Keldon Johnson currently dealing with a hamstring injury.


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