With the news teammate Trey Lyles will be joining LaMarcus Aldridge on the injured list for the restart of the season, San Antonio Spurs forwards Rudy Gay and Keldon Johnson said they’re ready for whatever role the team needs them to play in the restart.
“My thoughts haven’t changed,” said Gay of preparing for the restart. “My mindset hasn’t changed.”
Prior to the suspension of the season, Gay spent some time as a small ball 5 in certain lineups. I asked if he’s prepared for that role again, and he said though it’s not ideally where he’d want to play, he’ll do whatever is needed to help the team win.
“It’s basketball at the end of the day,” said Gay. “You want to be on the floor, you want to help the team. Who knows, who knows what Pop throws out there.”
Johnson also had to play some small ball 4 prior to the suspension of the season, and he said if he’s asked to, he’s ready for that role.
“We haven’t really talked about it,” said Johnson, but he said he’ll “do whatever it takes for my team to be victorious.”
This was the first time Gay spoke with the media since the conclusion of the Spurs’ full 5-on-5 practice.
“It felt good,” said Gay of practicing fully again.
“Just go out there and compete. The competitiveness,” he said.
With the loss of Lyles and Aldridge, the Spurs will be relying on a lot of their younger players like Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV, and Johnson to step up. Gay said the younger players are ready for increased roles.
“They’re playing with desperation,” said Gay. “Just to see where they can be.”
“They’re learning, I’m learning,” continued Gay of his role as a leader on the team being a veteran. “It’s a win win. We have a lot of people down, they’re going to have to play.”
Johnson’s role was increasing right before the shutdown of the season in March. He said it was “definitely disappointing” the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said during the off time, he’s been watching a lot of film and he really wants to work on his decision making when he drives to the basket in deciding whether to attempt a shot or pass out to a teammate. He also mentioned working on his “follow-through” with his shooting.
“I learned how to be a pro,” said Johnson of spending his early months in the G-League with the Austin Spurs. While in Austin, he said Chimezie Metu was a mentor for him.
“He helped me out a lot,” said Johnson of Metu. “Just keep working, keep grinding,” he said Metu would tell him.
“Me and Dejounte are really close,” said Johnson of which teammate he’s close to today.
To read about some of the different lineup combinations the Spurs may have to use, check out our most recent analysis.