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San Antonio Spurs: Three takeaways from the first Summer League games

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JULY 3: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the 2018 Utah Summer League on July 3, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JULY 3: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the 2018 Utah Summer League on July 3, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Derrick White shows he’s the best player on the court, and San Antonio Spurs rookie Lonnie Walker IV looks good even when his shot isn’t falling.

LeBron James has made his decision, which means the dog days of the NBA offseason are upon us. But with four and a half months until the start of the regular season, the Utah and Vegas Summer Leagues are here to give NBA fans their first look some of their teams’ newest players. For the San Antonio Spurs, this means a chance to see Lonnie Walker IV in silver and black for the first time, but through the first two games against the Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks, it was second-year guard Derrick White who stole the show.

1) Derrick White is proving he’s the best player on the Spurs’ Summer League squad — as he should be

As exciting as it is to imagine Walker’s future with the Spurs, he’s taking a backseat so far to the Spurs’ 2017 first-round pick. White and Spurs Summer League coach Will Hardy told Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News that his focus during the Summer League is defense and leadership, but the sophomore has had plenty of opportunities to run the show on the offensive end of the floor as well.

In both games, the Summer Spurs have played thus far. White led all scorers, following up a 22-point performance in the first game with a 21-point encore in the second. He’s looked comfortable with the ball in his hands, and has been easily the best player on the floor for the large majority of his minutes. While his play is encouraging, he’s still facing an upward battle if he wants to carve out some playing time in the regular season among a jam-packed guard rotation including Lonnie Walker IV and former Spurs NBA champion Marco Belinelli.

2) Lonnie Walker IV does all the right things, even when he can’t seem to find the basket

Walker, the Spurs’ highest draft selection since the Big Fundamental, struggled in his debut with the Summer Spurs, shooting 3-of-16 from the field and 1-of-6 from the three-point line, but Walker didn’t appear too phased by his poor shooting night.

Walker found the right spots on the defensive end of the floor, but more importantly, continued to be aggressive on offense, including one sequence where he missed a layup, got his own rebound and putback attempt among two significantly larger players on the Jazz squad. Walker sat out the second game for rest, but hopefully we’ll get to see more of what the new guard can do against the Memphis Grizzlies summer squad on Thursday night.

Team Stats ?

– Derrick White: 21 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds– Jaron Blossomgame: 16 points, 10 rebounds– Jeff Ledbetter: 16 points, 5 assists– Chimezie Metu: 13 points, 9 rebounds– Raphiael Putney: 10 points, 4 rebounds– Amida Brimah: 8 points, 11 rebounds#SummerSpurs https://t.co/azWnBupGhc

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 4, 2018

3) The Spurs summer squad is long and athletic

For a long time, the Spurs have been, to put it lightly, one of the less athletic teams in the NBA. When you look at the summer squad, it’s clear the Spurs front-office has a ‘type”. This team is chock-full of length, and the ability to really get up for buckets. While many of these players will never grace the NBA court, it’s clear the Spurs have a good idea of the type of player they’re looking for going forward, and not surprisingly, it looks an awful lot like their current (albeit, disgruntled) superstar.

✈️✈️✈️@RRPUTNEY3 pic.twitter.com/uNnx2Wkide

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 4, 2018

Next: Top 25 players in SAS history

Will Derrick White continue to dominate the Utah Summer League, and can Lonnie Walker IV bounce back as he works to get comfy with his new team? You can tune in for more Summer League action when the Spurs take on the Grizzlies, Thursday at 6 PM CST on NBA TV.

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