Unlike most NBA rookies that appear to be locks to make an NBA roster, Bryce Cotton was un-drafted out of Providence. Cotton had a spectacular four year career for the Friars. Despite measuring a tad below 6 feet, Cotton led the Friars to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big East Conference Tournament.
Cotton ranked among the top ten in the nation in scoring, averaging 21.8 points to go along with 5.9 assists. Cotton’s value to the Friars was immeasurable, as he averaged 39.9 minutes. He had 10 games in which he scored over 25 points. There isn’t much argument when I say that Cotton was the most important player to a team in college basketball.
Cotton showed that he plays his best basketball under the bright lights. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament he went for 36 points and 8 assists in a one point loss to North Carolina. He went 13-23 from the field and made all seven of his free throw attempts.
What Cotton did as a senior wasn’t a surprise, as he averaged 19.7 points. The difference was that Cotton grew as a leader and became a better facilitator, as he went from averaging 2.9 assists to 5.9. With Patty Mills expected to miss a few months, Cotton has a legit shot at making the team. Cotton is a solid shooter (37% threes) and has explosiveness (40-inch vertical) that the Spurs lack from the point guard spot.
Don’t be surprised if Cotton makes a push for the backup point guard spot, but then again it’s hard to imagine Coach Popovich playing a rookie over Cory Joseph. Cotton is certainly more skilled than Joseph, but Joseph has an edge in size and defending other lead guards. It certainly won’t be like his time in Providence, here in San Antonio, but then again he is on the team that just won the NBA title, not a bad way to start a professional career.
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