Jul 20, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathan Simmons (16) smiles after being awarded the NBA Summer League Final MVP after the Spurs defeated the Phoenix Suns 93-90 in the final at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs are deep. They might be too deep. They lost key role players, Cory Joseph, Marco Belinelli, Tiago Splitter, and Arron Baynes. However they upgraded in the offseason adding LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Ray McCallum, Jimmer Fredette and Jonathon Simmons. The Spurs drafted Cady Lalanne and Nikola Milutinov.
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The Spurs starting lineup will likely be Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Aldridge, and Tim Duncan. David West, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Ray McCallum, Boris Diaw, and Kyle Anderson will be used off the bench. It’s likely that Matt Bonner won’t get much playing team and some DNP’s along the way.
The final spot on the roster might come down to Jimmer Fredette and Jonathon Simmons. Who has a better chance of making the team and producing at a higher level?
Fredette brings NBA experience and is without question the more known player. The BYU sharpshooter hasn’t been what many thought he would be, when he was selected 10th in the 2011 Draft. He has career averaged of 6.1 points and 1.4 assists. The problem with Fredette is that he is an abysmal defender, as he is too slow for point guards and lack the athletic ability that most guards have. He is certainly a good shooter (38% threes career) and has the potential to be an efficient outside shooter on the Spurs.
Simmons on the other hand has taken the hard route to make the league, as he was undrafted. Simmons has played with the Austin Spurs (NBADL) since 2013. Last year Simmons averaged 15.2 points and 3.7 assists. He was also named to the NBA D-League All-Defensive Third Team. Simmons is 6″6 and he can play both wing spots.
In the end I believe both teams will be on the Spurs roster, but Simmons will spend lots of time in the D-League. Fredette knows that this could be one of his last shots to make an impression on an NBA team. Fredette brings one strength that outweighs any of Simmons strengths. Fredette is a terrific shooter when given the opportunity, while Simmons is much more well-rounded.
While you can make the case that Simmons defense and versatility is of more value, the Spurs will go with Fredette.