Candidates for the Final San Antonio Spurs’ Roster Spot
By Jay Desai
The San Antonio Spurs still have one roster spot open as they head into training camp and the regular season.
After re-signing Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, and Patty Mills, the Spurs’ roster has ballooned to 14 players.
As the offseason comes to a conclusion for the Spurs, San Antonio is looking to fill their last roster spot out with some veteran experience to round out the bench.
There are still some strong free agent options left in the market and the San Antonio Spurs are definitely intrigued by a few of those players.
The Spurs still have a qualifying offer out to Aron Baynes who is a restricted free agent for San Antonio. The San Antonio Spurs could use their final spot on Baynes or look elsewhere to finish out their roster.
With that said, here’s a look at some candidates for the final San Antonio Spurs’ roster spot!
Aron Baynes, Center, 6-foot-10
Aron Baynes is first on this list as he’s the only player on here who has previously been a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
Baynes played sparsely for the Spurs last season, posting averages of 3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 9.3 minutes of action. The Australian big man struggled to shoot the ball from the field, shooting a measly 43.6 % for the season.
Although Baynes was not very effective overall for the San Antonio Spurs, shown by his poor 0.6 win shares, the 6-foot-10 center showed some promise in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
In the tournament Baynes averaged 16.8 points and 7 rebounds, leading his home-nation Australia in both categories.
What’s even more impressive is that Baynes achieved these numbers while playing against three teams that eventually made it to the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
This performance was a surprise for many San Antonio Spurs fans and international fans as Baynes had career averages of 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in international competition coming into this tournament.
Baynes’ best international performance before the 2014 FIBA World Cup was at the FIBA Oceania Challenge where he averaged 7.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. Even at the 2012 Olympics Baynes only averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds.
The Australian big man turns 28 in December which means he still has a little more room to develop as a player. With his outstanding performance at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, it would not be surprising if he turns into a key contributor for an NBA team.
The phrase NBA team is important as apparently the San Antonio Spurs may be moving Baynes in a sign-and-trade. They are currently fielding offers for the big man.
Gustavo Ayon, Center/Power Forward, 6-foot-10
Gustavo Ayon is another player the San Antonio Spurs have expressed interest in.
The big man from Mexico was thought to have agreed to a deal with Spanish ACB League team Real Madrid. However, a buyout with the team that owns his rights in the ACB, FC Barcelona, has complicated the deal and a contract has yet to be signed.
The San Antonio Spurs hae since expressed interest, and with an open roster spot, could be looking to sign the 6-foot-10 post-player.
Ayon played with the Atlanta Hawks last season posting averages of 4.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26 appearances and 14 starts.
Gustavo Ayon also played with the Mexico National Team over the summer at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, leading Mexico in points and rebounds with averages of 17.6 and 7.6, respectively.
Ayon, like Baynes, had a breakout in 2014 FIBA World Cup play. This was the first major international tournament for the big man and he delivered, posting his highest scoring average in international competition.
Although his rebounds for the 2014 FIBA World Cup were less than his international event averages, that can be forgiven as it is most likely due to the increased competition.
Ayon could be headed for a great year as many players have used international competition as a springboard for the NBA season, such as Derrick Rose in his MVP season.
The big man from Mexico would figure to be third on the depth chart at either the center or power forward position. Still, depth is depth and you cannot have enough of it, especially if injuries start to mount.
Ryan Hollins, Center/Power Forward, 7-foot-0
Ryan Hollins is the third player on this list and the third big man on this list.
Hollins makes this list because he claimed that he had been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs1. on Sirius XM’s NBA channel.
Although it’s yet to be reported that the San Antonio Spurs are interested in the former Los Angeles Clipper, the claim that Hollins made and the fact that the Spurs have expressed interest in a couple big men makes this an interesting scenario.
Hollins played under Doc Rivers last season for the Los Angeles Clippers averaging 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.9 minutes.
Although Hollins rode the pine for the majority of the season, evident by his low minutes, he did post a surprisingly high win share total of 1.3 compared to his playing time.
In fact, Hollins’ win share total equals that of Ayon’s and Baynes’ combined. That statistic is even more puzzling when you consider Hollins only played nine less minutes than Baynes for the season. Baynes played the most minutes out of those three with 491 total.
Hollins is widely considered to be below Ayon and Baynes and considering the big man didn’t play in a major competition over the summer, he might have slid further behind the two 2014 FIBA World Cup competitors.
Jamaal Franklin, Shooting Guard, 6-foot-5
Jamaal Franklin falls on this list thanks to his recent workouts with the San Antonio Spurs.
Franklin has yet to be officially announced as a member of the San Antonio Spurs training camp roster but with his NBA experience, he will likely be added to the team.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from San Diego State most recently played with the Memphis Grizzlies, being cut by the team last month. In Franklin’s 2013-2014 campaign with Memphis, the former collegiate teammate of Kawhi Leonard averaged 1.9 points and 1.1 rebounds in 21 appearances for the Grizzlies.
Franklin also spent some time in the NBA D-League for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants last season. During his time in the D-League, Franklin posted averages of 5.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists during his 16 game stint.
Franklin, a 2013 NBA Draft second round pick, is the youngest player on this list, making him the most promising potential wise as he still has many years to develop.
The 23-year-old has yet to find his niche in the league, but, considering Franklin has only completed his first season, he should be able to turn into a nice role player with the proper coaching, at the very least.
This is where the San Antonio Spurs would come in. Coach Popovich and company have a history of turning former NBA washouts into productive role players and they could do the same with Jamaal Franklin.
Although Franklin is listed as a two-guard, a position where the Spurs are very deep, he could easily transition to a three and become an adequate back-up to Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Speaking of Leonard, Franklin and Leonard have a history that dates back to their days at San Diego State University. The two were teammates back at SDSU.
With Leonard coming off a career year, he could make a push to get Franklin on the team. That shouldn’t be too difficult considering Franklin already does have NBA experience.
Ray Allen, Shooting Guard, 6-foot-5
Ray Allen is probably the name San Antonio Spurs fans were most looking forward to in this article, which is why we saved the best for last.
Allen has been linked to the San Antonio Spurs ever since the former NBA Champion announced he might be returning for another NBA season. A member of the Miami Heat last season, Allen’s contract expired this offseason making him a free agent.
The 3-point specialist played well for the Heat last season, posting averages of 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2 assists in 26.5 minutes of action per game.
Allen also posted a solid win share total of 4.1. The two-guard also became even more of a 3-point specialist this season, posting a 56.9% 3-point attempt rate, the highest in his 18 year career. The 3-point rate is the percentage of field goal attempts from 3-point range.
Ray Allen obviously wants to play for a contender and the San Antonio Spurs can provide that option. Allen is also the best player on this list, making the best option for the Spurs to bolster their depth.
Allen would most likely play as a two or a three, providing production from deep on the perimeter. He would also provide some more veteran experience on a team that just won an NBA Championship.
Air Alamo’s own Matt Graber wrote about how Ray Allen is a perfect fit with the San Antonio Spurs. So, if you’re looking for more on a potential relationship between Allen and the Spurs, definitely check it out!
Keep The Spot Open
The San Antonio Spurs may have an open roster spot but that does not mean it has to be filled. NBA rules stipulate a team must have 12 active players but can have up to 15 players on the roster although a team does not need to fill their roster up to capacity.
This move could bode well for the San Antonio Spurs in the future.
If the Spurs find a player performing well in the NBA D-League, San Antonio could use their open roster spot to bring the player in.
Additionally, if the Spurs run into an injury during the season, they could use their open roster spot to fill the void.
While injuries and outstanding D-League players are good reasons to keep open roster spots, it is also important to remember that players are waived during the regular season. If the San Antonio Spurs see a player that is waived that could help the organization, they could use the roster spot to sign that player.
The moves made in the offseason are key to determining how a team performs in the season and the playoffs. One wrong move could hurt chemistry, hurt production, or create other issues internally.
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Additionally, missing out on a player who goes out and contributes well could leave fans scratching their heads as to whether the organization is making the right moves.
R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich have shown great poise when it comes to team operations which will hopefully leave San Antonio Spurs fans feeling the front office made all the right moves, even after this offseason.
There are other players who the San Antonio Spurs have signed to their training camp roster. Those players are not included here because of their lack of NBA experience.
Who do you think the San Antonio Spurs should use their final roster spot on? Let us know in the comments!
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