The San Antonio Spurs played their first game of the 2017 Summer League. Who stood out the most?
On Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs played their first game of the 2017 Summer League. This was the team’s opener in the Utah Summer League, before they transition to the Vegas League later in July.
In this first game, the Spurs lost to the Utah Jazz, 87-74. It featured the debuts of Derrick White and Jaron Blossomgame, who were selected in Round 1 and 2, respectively, of the 2017 NBA Draft.
Familiar faces received on-court time, too. This included Dejounte Murray, who could start the regular season as the point guard, and Davis Bertans, the backup power forward from last season.
With one game in the books, let’s look at how the 10-best players from San Antonio’s team ranks. Who sits at the top spot?
Olivier Hanlan SG
Age: 24 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .250/.333/.500 2017 Summer League Averages: 4.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 3PM
Olivier Hanlan came over in the Boris Diaw trade of 2016. This came with the Utah Jazz, who selected him in Round 2 of the 2015 NBA Draft.
Hanlan played a limited role in the opening game of the Utah Summer League. He chipped in across the stat line, however, by putting up 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. A perimeter game was even shown by the Canadian, who shot 33 percent from long distance overseas.
Jaron Blossomgame SF
Age: 23 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .000/.000/null 2017 Summer League Averages: 0.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.0 APG
Jaron Blossomgame went No. 59 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, so this game was his debut in a Spurs uniform. He didn’t produce much, though.
Despite starting, Blossomgame finished 0-8 for 0 points against the Jazz. A handful of his shots were from beyond the arc, too, which couldn’t connect. Although the 8 rebounds were a bright spot.
As a second-round pick, Blossomgame is playing on a nonguaranteed contract. Monday’s game wasn’t a good start toward him making the roster, so unless things pick up, the Spurs could release or put him on the G-League team.
Next: No. 7 and 8
Ben Bentil PF
Age: 22 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .333/.000/1.00 2017 Summer League Averages: 5.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG
Ben Bentil is in his second NBA season, after getting selected by the Boston Celtics in 2016. He joined the Dallas Mavericks’ roster during the season, playing 3 games and 10 total minutes, so this opportunity with the Spurs could be critical for his longevity in the league.
Bentil put up a respectable performance vs. Utah, scoring 5 points and grabbing 3 rebounds. It came on just 33 percent shooting, but one-half of his missed shots came from beyond the arc.
It will be difficult for Bentil to slip onto the Spurs roster. If anything, he may be playing for a spot on someone’s G-League roster.
Shayne Whittington PF
Age: 26 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .280/.500/1.00 2017 Summer League Averages: 6.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 2.0 BPG, 1.0 3PM
Shayne Whittington has NBA experience, playing parts of two seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Whittington’s last in-game action came in the 2015-16 season, though.
It will be tough for Whittington to make San Antonio’s roster, but like Bentil and Blossomgame, he could be in line for a G-League spot. The 6 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks provide some upside for his Summer League performance and potential placement on a roster. Let’s see if this can be followed up on in Game 2.
Next: No. 5 and 6
Cory Jefferson PF
Age: 26 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .250/.000/null 2017 Summer League Averages: 6.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Cory Jefferson went No. 60 overall to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Draft. Since then, he’s only played for the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns, while spending time with the Austin Spurs of the former D-League in the 2016-17 season.
Jefferson may be playing for a spot in Austin, again, with the opportunity to be one call away from being the 14th or 15th man on the NBA roster. His stat line against the Jazz was a step in that direction, pulling in 10 rebounds and scoring 6 points. It came against a stingy defense that contained most of the Spurs team, but Jefferson was one of the lone bright spots on the glass.
Livio Jean-Charles PF
Age: 23 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .620/null/null 2017 Summer League Averages: 10.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG
It’s been four years since Livio Jean-Charles got selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Draft. He tried making the team in 2016, but got waived in preseason camp. The Spurs kept him in Austin, however, for the year.
Jean-Charles began his case to make a new impression on the San Antonio brass on Monday night. His performance was solid, with 10 points and 5 rebounds on 62 percent shooting. It was in line with his D-League stats of 10 PPG and 5.5 RPG.
If Jean-Charles doesn’t flash enough upside, questions should arise of if he’ll ever make the NBA roster. This is his opportunity to do so, with a handful of games still to go, to prove his worth.
Next: No. 3 and 4
Bryn Forbes SG
Age: 23 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .210/.400/1.00 2017 Summer League Averages: 12.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 2.0 3PM
Bryn Forbes played in just under half of the Spurs’ regular season games in 2016-17. It came at the end of the bench, only seeing sporadic time. So Forbes’ spot in the 2017-18 roster is hardly guaranteed, especially with his nonguaranteed contract. San Antonio must pay him $100K if he’s on the roster after August 1, 2017.
Forbes didn’t shoot a high percentage from the field, but still managed to score 12 points and show his long-distance shooting. He also had a shot get absolutely destroyed by Dante Exum, so there’s also that.
Davis Bertans PF
Age: 24 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .300/.220/1.00 2017 Summer League Averages: 12.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.0 3PM
Davis Bertans has the most NBA experience of anyone on the San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League roster. He played 67 games in his first season since arriving from overseas, showcasing his ability as a stretch four, for Gregg Popovich.
In this game vs. Utah, Bertans shot 10 times, all but 1 of which was from beyond the arc. He made just 2 of them, which is only an anomaly for the Latvian power forward who barely shot below 40 percent from distance in 2016-17.
Bertans will have no issue making the 2017-18 roster. Will he continue rounding out his game in the Summer League?
Next: No. 1 and 2
Dejounte Murray PG
Age: 20 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .420/null/null 2017 Summer League Averages: 6.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.0 SPG
Another guarantee for this fall’s Spurs roster is Dejounte Murray. He will enter his sophomore season in the NBA, looking to follow up on his 38 games played, 43 percent shooting and 39 percent from beyond the arc.
These Summer League games could be tune-ups for Murray’s potential starting gig to open the season. This is due to Tony Parker’s quad injury, which may keep him out for part of the 2017-18 campaign. So the more reps the Washington product gets beforehand, the better.
To start things off, Murray had an efficient performance for the Sputs vs. the Jazz. He shot 42 percent, fished out 5 assists and had a role on defense with 3 steals. A good start to an important summer for him.
Derrick White PG
Age: 23 2017 Summer League Slash Line: .410/.200/1.00 2017 Summer League Averages: 13.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 3PM
Derrick White came over in the 2017 NBA Draft, and got off to a solid start in his San Antonio Spurs debut. He shot 41 percent and had a team-high of 13 points. Some range from beyond the arc was shown, too.
White’s role for the 2017-18 Spurs is unknown. They can ship him to the G-League to open the season, allowing development for this player that had one year of Division-I experience. If the Colorado product shows enough promise in the Summer League and training camp, then a spot on the bench could open up. Parker’s injury only helps this.
After one game, who should sit atop the Spurs’ Summer League rankings?