San Antonio Spurs: Projecting the 2017 Summer League Roster
By Rob Wolkenbrod
May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks with media before game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2017 Vegas Summer League approaching, how could the San Antonio Spurs team look?
The San Antonio Spurs completed its two picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, and now turn to the rest of the offseason. This includes free agency, starting in the beginning of July. However, in between that, there’s the Vegas Summer League.
The Summer League is used to get draft picks, undrafted free agents and other players looks in front of NBA coaching staffs. They round up rosters of about 15 players, who get time in a handful of games and a round-robin tournament.
For the Spurs, their Summer League roster isn’t official, but is steadily coming together. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reported five players being set for the team in July. Who could join them, though?
Nemanja Dangubic is likely not a household name for San Antonio Spurs fans. However, they’ll be able to know him a little better this summer, after being set to join the team in July for workouts.
Dangubic was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Spurs on the same night. He’s a Serbian forward, who stands at 6-foot-8, 193 pounds.
Dangubic played the past three seasons in the Euroleague, totaling 66 games played. He averaged 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds on 42 percent shooting.
It may not result in Dangubic joining the Spurs next season, but the organization will get updated on his progress. If the team likes what they see, maybe he’ll be brought in for a future season, whether that’s 2018 or 2019.
According to News4SanAntonio.com, James Robinson will join the Spurs’ Summer League team. He’s formerly of the University of Pittsburgh.
Robinson played last season with BC Igokea in the Bosnian BiH Liga. He had 12.8 points on 48 percent shooting.
This may just be to get a look at Robinson and see if he made any improvement in his game since heading overseas. If anything, it could be for a spot on a G-League team, whether it’s with the Spurs or another NBA franchise.
Next: Forbes and Milutinov
Apr 7, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich speaks with guard Bryn Forbes (11) during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Bryn Forbes joined the San Antonio Spurs as an undrafted free agent in 2016, playing with its Summer League team. He only played in 36 games in the 2016-17 season, but did enough to warrant minutes as a player at the end of the bench.
On April 7, Forbes broke out with 27 points and 6 assists against the Dallas Mavericks. This came in just 29 minutes, as the Spurs looked to give others time before the NBA playoffs began.
Forbes could play for a bench role again in the 2017-18 season. He’ll need to impress in the Summer League, however, as the Spurs tinker the team to compete with the Golden State Warriors.
Along with Dangubic, Nikola Milutinov will join the team this summer. It doesn’t guarantee him making the team for next season, as it may just be the team checking on his progress.
The Spurs drafted Milutinov in Round 1 of the 2015 NBA Draft. He’s since spent the past two seasons with Olympiakos of the Greek A1, averaging 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game.
If Milutinov makes the Spurs, he’ll fit in as a backup to Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. That’s a long way off, though, and may not be until 2018 or 2019.
Next: Hanga and White
Jan 28, 2017; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes guard Derrick White (21) reacts after a play in the second half against the Oregon Ducks at Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Ducks 74-65. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
While it’s no guarantee Dangubic and Milutinov play in the NBA this year, Adam Hanga may be a sure bet. The San Antonio Spurs drafted him in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, so the wait exceeded six years.
Hanga played the past six years in Liga ACB for Assignia Manresa, La Bruixa d’Or, Laboral Kutxa, Sidigas Avellino, Laboral Kutxa Baskonia and Baskonia. He averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds. 2.0 assists and was one of the Euroleague’s top defenders.
With Jonathan Simmons as a restricted free agent, it’s possible Hanga replaces him in the rotation. However, it’s possible Simmons returns and they play on the same team, despite being similar players.
The Spurs picked Derrick White with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, so he’s a foregone conclusion to be part of the Summer League team. It’s a chance for San Antonio to see how he initialy fares against NBA-level competition.
White is a point guard from Colorado, with the ability to play shooting guard in smaller lineups. He joined the team, amidst potential issues at the point guard position. Tony Parker will miss part of next season, with a quad injury, while Patty Mills is a free agent and Dejounte Murray isn’t fully proven in the NBA.
Next: Blossomgame and Bertans
Apr 7, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Davis Bertans (42) reacts after scoring during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jaron Blossomgame was San Antonio’s second pick of the draft, coming in at No. 59 overall. He played his four years of college basketball at Clemson.
Blossomgame averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in four season with the Tigers. The most recent one saw him put up 17.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in 33 games, playing as the lead man of an underwhelming team.
Since Blossomgame’s contract will be non-guaranteed, he’ll potentially have to play his way onto the team in the Summer League. If not, he could end up in the G-League or be released.
After a five-year wait for Davis Bertans, he arrived to the Spurs for the 2015-16 deal. The team acquired his rights in the 2011 draft-day deal, that also sent Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio and George Hill to the Indiana Pacers.
Bertans averaged 4.5 points on 44 percent shooting, in a stretch four role. As he gets more experience, he should gain more minutes. His Summer League performance will go a long way toward that, too.
Next: Dejounte Murray
May 11, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) dribbles the ball during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game six of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The highest profiled-name is Dejounte Murray, San Antonio’s first-round pick from 2016. He played in 38 games as a rookie, making 8 starts and 2 more in the NBA playoffs.
As the current roster stands, Murray will be the starting point guard for the 2017-18 season. Parker will miss the first few months of the season, while White may need time to acclimate to the NBA game. Mills is a free agent, too, so the point guard position is in doubt for next year.
There’s still free agency, which could land the Spurs a bigger name like Chris Paul or George Hill. However, landing either one likely requires a total retool of the roster, except for Kawhi Leonard. Maybe less so with Hill, but at least one or two contracts would have to be moved, to create cap space.
Murray should start for the Spurs in the Summer League, where he’ll get to follow up on his promising rookie season. He’ll play with White, Blossomgame and the other youngsters the team will have, as they continue gearing toward the future.
Next: Biggest Offseason Questions
Who else might join the San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League roster?