In seven days, the San Antonio Spurs will start the 2020-2021 season just two-and-a-half months after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA title. As the silver and black prepared to take the court Tuesday night for the team’s second of three preseason games, Dedric Lawson, a member of the Austin Spurs in the G-League last year, was going through his morning routine in preparation for his own game against the Anyang KGC of the Korean Basketball League (South Korea).
Lawson, who played in all 42 games for the Austin Spurs last season, is averaging 16.1 points and 7.8 rebounds through 17 games with the Goyang-Orions. Last year with Austin he averaged, 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 53.3% from the floor. At 6’9” he’s versatile, shooting around 34% from deep last year with Austin and this year in Korea, and averages 74% on his free-throws. This offseason, I wrote how Dedric should be in consideration for a two-way contract with San Antonio, but that didn’t happen.
Playing internationally isn’t new for G-League players, as their contracts with the NBA are only a year at a time and they need to earn a living the rest of the time. What is new is for guys like Dedric who perform well in the G-League to still be playing overseas this close to the start of the American basketball season. Lawson isn’t the only Austin Spur currently abroad either. In fact, I searched around and found three other Austin Spurs currently playing in other countries. Let’s start with the most shocking.
Daulton Hommes – VANOLI BASKET CREMONA (Italy)
In July, I wrote about Daulton Hommes as another Austin Spur that the organization should have considered for a two-way contract this offseason. Similar to Lawson, he’s 6’8”, so he too brings some size that the team will need in the near future, but where he stands out is his ability to hit from range. Here’s a peek at what I wrote then:
“It was a bit of a down year in his first professional season after winning the 2018-2019 Division 2 Player of the Year award. After going undrafted, the 6’8” forward saw his effectiveness take a dip in the G-League, but he set his bar pretty high at Point Loma Nazarene University where he averaged 21.2 points per game and shot a reliable 47% from beyond the arc in 5 attempts per game.”
If he can get back to form, Hommes fills the void left by Davis Bertans when the Spurs traded him to Washington last offseason. Currently starting at the power forward spot in Italy, Hommes is hitting 41.2% from deep, and 57% from the floor. He leads his team in scoring through seven games with 18.6 points to go along with 5.3 rebounds per game. Additionally, he’s connected on 86.5% of his 22 attempts from the free-throw line.
Angel Rodriguez – VAQUEROS DE BAYAMON
It was almost a year ago when the Austin Spurs traded the returning player rights of Josh Huestis to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets affiliate) in exchange for Angel Rodriguez. Angel came and fit right in, eventually making fellow point guard Matt Farrell expendable enough to trade to the Northern Arizona Suns.
Rodriguez brought a wealth of experience with him, and as a member of the Team Puerto Rico in the AmeriCup, had to miss some time last season. As I wrote upon his return, the team missed his contributions.
“Rodriguez, acquired via trade from the Houston Rockets’ affiliate Rio Grand Valley Vipers in December, has started 12 of the 13 games he has played in since coming over, contributing 10.4 points, 3.9 assists and almost 2 steals in 27 minutes per game. He was the starting point guard for the Vipers this season and averaged 16 points, 5 assists and 2.5 steals before the trade that sent Josh Huestis’ returning player rights to the Rockets G-League franchise.”
A native of Puerto Rico, it isn’t surprising to see that he’s playing in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN) with the Vaqueros de Bayamón. As the team’s starting point guard he’s averaging 16 points / 4 rebounds / 6 assists, shooting 44% and connecting on 78% of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Galen Robinson Jr. – BG GOETTINGEN (Germany)
It could be argued that with all of the young scorers that the San Antonio Spurs have, they could benefit from a true point guard down the road, as I wrote when naming him as my third consideration for a two-way contract with the club this offseason.
“Galen Robinson Jr. is more of a true point guard type, always looking to distribute, as evidenced by his 6 shot attempts per game against his team high 5.4 assists off the bench. Once Keldon officially makes the NBA leap as I expect him to for next season, he’ll join Lonnie and Dejounte as hyper-athletic scorers. Scorers need a distributor.”
Robinson is the starting point guard for BG Goettingen, even though he’s only averaging 17 minutes through the team’s five games. His stat line of 5.8 points / 1.4 rebounds / 3.6 assists leaves more to be desired, even as a true distributor. For percentages, he’s shooting 50% which is good, but he’s also 50% at the free-throw line through 12 attempts which isn’t.
You may have noticed some names missing from this list. As of writing this piece, I couldn’t find current team information for Kavion Pippen or Tevin King. Jeff Ledbetter has been in the gym but has expressed missing his days playing in Mexico on his Instagram, which would lead me to believe that he’s keeping himself available for a call from a NBA team. Ledbetter’s fellow Austin Spurs team-mentor, Jordan Green, isn’t playing anywhere at the moment either.
While the sub-group of those that follow the G-League try to piece together what a season could look like this year, there’s hopefully work being done in the league’s office to announce something solid soon. Currently, the Ignite program is playing scrimmages, but that’s the only action happening on the developmental level. Stay tuned here with Project Spurs for updates as they come out.
Did I miss an Austin Spur that you’ve seen playing abroad this year? Do you think there’s going to be a season? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @JarkClonas and through @ProjectSpurs.