San Antonio Spurs: Gregg Popovich calls Joffrey Lauvergne ‘impressive’

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 8: Joffrey Lauvergne #77 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the preseason game on October 8, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 8: Joffrey Lauvergne #77 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the preseason game on October 8, 2017 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich provided praise for Joffrey Lauvergne who signed with the team in the offseason.

The San Antonio Spurs walked into the 2017 offseason with depth issues at center and power forward. Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee opted out of their contracts for the 2017-18 season, which left Davis Bertans as the only backup big man, despite his knack for being a stretch four more than a player that works under the basket.

The only signing the Spurs made at center or power forward was Joffrey Lauvergne, unless Matt Costello’s two-way contract counts. Lauvergne wasn’t a big-name signing, as he developed into a journeyman center over his three NBA seasons.

The French big man debuted for the Spurs in their first preseason game, and ever since, he made an impression. This included 7 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in a 113-93 win over the Sacramento Kings.

At a recent Spurs practice, head coach Gregg Popovich spoke about Lauvergne. He called the fourth-year pro “impressive” and even mentioned his love of wine.

Off to a good start, @1JOLOLO. pic.twitter.com/DHdIwA3HbR

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 9, 2017

It was only three preseason games, but, so far, so good for Lauvergne. He caught the eye of Popovich — obviously a good thing — and should benefit, with early-season minutes, when the important games kick off on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

With Lauvergne as the only offseason signing at center or power forward, it should make him the first big man off the bench. He’ll spell Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, with the potential to play quality minutes. How many that is, remains to be seen, along with which lineups Popovich rolls out to start the season.

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Lauvergne joined the Spurs on a two-year contract for the veteran’s minimum in July. This cam after spending time with the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, and the Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 6.1 points and 4.0 rebounds on 47 percent shooting during this time.

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