In their final game of the Salt Lake City Summer League, the San Antonio Spurs suffered their first loss to Utah. The Jazz led for the entire game, but the Spurs did manage to cut the Jazz lead down to a single possession game late. Lonnie Walker IV had the last shot to tie with a three, but he couldn’t get the contested look to go in, and so, the Spurs lost 84-81.
Prior to the game, it was announced that rookies Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson would not play after playing in back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday.
In these observations, the focus will be on the Spurs players projected to be on the team next season.
Lonnie Walker IV – 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 1 steal
Walker IV struggled for the first three quarters of the game, but in the fourth, he started knocking down his jumper off screens to help San Antonio claw back. He scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth on a tough night shooting the ball overall (41% FG, 25% from three).
In the first three quarters, he had trouble penetrating the defense of the Jazz on the interior, and the Jazz guards were able to stay in his space off screens. In the fourth though, when he’d call a pick and the defense would go under, he’d use that open space to shoot mid-range jumpers in rhythm and at one point, he sunk three in a row. There was one possession where he was rolling in the fourth as he grabbed a defensive rebound, brought the ball up court and drilled the transition three.
Throughout the game he had some good defensive sequences whether it was disrupting passing lanes and knocking the ball out of bounds or preventing his defender from getting by him in 1-on-1 attempts. On one specific possession, he forced his opponent to go baseline and as Walker IV cut off his drive, the player he was guarding stepped out of bounds.
Walker IV ended up taking 17 shots and finished with zero assists. When he’s running pick-and-rolls, his first option seems to be to take the mid-range open jumper, since that’s the shot the defense is giving him. This is the benefit of playing in Summer League for a young player like Walker IV, he’ll get the keys to the offense now so the coaching staff can evaluate what he does as a primary option. As the Summer League moves toward Vegas, it’ll be interesting to see if he can start driving a bit more toward the rim on picks or start creating for others and bring up his assist numbers.
Drew Eubanks – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover
Eubanks had another efficient game on offense, finishing with 15 points on 60% shooting. He might have been able to go for 20 points, but he struggled from the free throw line, where he left five free throws at the line. Eubanks’ left hook caught some attention on social media, as it’s not a shot many big men take these days. But, for Eubanks, he sticks to what works. He was a tough matchup for the defense as the roll man, where he usually had a good scoring opportunity on the catch, or he’d draw shooting fouls on his way up for the shot attempts.
Quinndary Weatherspoon – 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 1 block
Weathersooon had a quiet first quarter, but then he started scoring and creating for others in the second. From what was observed, he seems to run pick-and-rolls more efficiently when he has time to slow down the offense, let his teammates get to their spots, then he’ll call a pick and initiate from there. When he did this, he was able to drive toward the rim and finish or get the attention of the help defenders and kick out to an open teammate.
There was one impressive play in the second half he made, when he called for a pick, the big went under and while his defender tried to go around the screen, Weatherspoon used a step-back move to get separation and make the open three. When the game was getting close in the fourth, he used a smart maneuver by pump faking and drawing the shooting foul to get himself to the free throw line and stop the clock.
Honorable Mention: Thomas Robinson – 12 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
While Robinson isn’t projected to be on the Spurs’ 15-man roster by opening day, he had some impressive moments in the game. He was able to roll well after setting picks and finish at the rim. On two different plays defensively, he denied the pass coming to the person he was guarding, deflected the ball, and drove down on the other end to finish on the break.
The Spurs will be off for the 4th of July and then their schedule will shift to the Las Vegas portion of Summer League, where they’ll face the Orlando Magic Friday evening at 10:00 PM CT.