After logging one full season with Texas, Cory Joseph forgoed another collegiate season to enter the NBA Draft — which pundits viewed as a mistake given his raw, untapped ability.
Joseph was tagged as a late second-round value with the potential of going undrafted. DraftExpress had him going to Philadelphia with the No. 50 pick in their final mock. So, yeah, no NBA team was too interested.
Joseph predominately played point with Texas where he posted modest averages of 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, three assists and 42.2% shooting. Delving deeper he still didn’t do anything at a particularly elite level; he assisted on 17.3% on his possessions with an average TS% (52.6%).
At best Joseph develops into a scoring point guard with average vision and enough lateral quickness to defend most point guards. At worst he’d become a small scoring point guard without any discernible skill to separate himself from his peers.
The consensus was that Joseph would probably nestle in between the two scenarios. If anyone had to guess, though, Joseph wasn’t viewed as an NBA player. (Hence why he should’ve stayed at least another year to hone his skills.)
And yet in an uncharacteristic turn of events San Antonio placed their confidence in the 19-year-old despite a ton of evidence to the contrary. It was an interesting pick; as interesting as a draft day reach could’ve been. The pick presumably addressed their point guard sized crater behind Tony Parker.
But this wasn’t going to be a quick fix. They didn’t pick Joseph to immediately fill George Hill’s role. They drafted Joseph because they saw a player that could be meticulously molded into a NBA caliber player.
The key, in this scenario, is that this experience a lot of time. It’s likely that Joseph still doesn’t improve enough to make a legitimate dent in San Antonio’s rotation.
It just so happens that the Spurs have re-signed Patty Mills to man some time at point. Gary Neal logged 22% of his minutes at point; despite his detractors, Neal was highly effective in Parker’s place according to 82games.com.
Neal will enter restrticted free agency next season. It would behoove San Antonio to retain him, assuming his price doesn’t exceed Danny Green’s price tag, because he accentuates the positive qualities of the Spurs’ offense. (Defensively? Not so much.)
But, who’s to say (and this is just speculation) that Joseph won’t make enough strides in Austin to deter the Spurs from retaining Neal? It’s also possible that even if Neal plays well, he’ll be redundant after the addition of Nando De Colo anyway. That would be a plus considering that would make one less player to compete for a spot.
Joseph is set to make approximately $4 million in the next three seasons. He’d provide tremendous value whenever, if, he becomes a full-time member of the rotation.
Well, assuming he improves enough. Which might take awhile.