With Quincy Pondexter on the San Antonio Spurs roster, where does he fit into the 2018-19 season’s equation?
Hours after the San Antonio Spurs lost Manu Ginobili to retirement, Quincy Pondexter signed a one-year deal for the 2018-19 season. He became the roster’s 14th man, with one spot open for whoever San Antonio chooses to use it on, if anyone.
On paper, Pondexter owns the measurables to replace Ginobili, at 6-foot-7 and the ability to play shooting guard and small forward. A six-year veteran, he flashed the ability to shoot from three-point range at 35.7 percent in 17.3 minutes per game, so there’s some upside for the Spurs to have someone else to spread the floor.
However, the Pondexter signing presents some risk, even on a minimum salary. He underwent two left-knee surgeries in 2015 that wiped out the entire 2015-16 campaign. Another procedure on his left knee took away the 2016-17 season, as well, and a life-threatening battle with MRSA.
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Pondexter suited up for the first time in two and a half years in October 2017 for the Chicago Bulls. Though, he played just 23 games, shot 28.6 percent and averaged 2 points. The Bulls waived him in February.
Pondexter will have a chance to earn minutes at the back-end of the rotation, as he must contend with a full group at shooting guard and small forward, even without Ginobili around. DeMar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, Bryn Forbes, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker can all hold their own at shooting guard, while DeRozan, Belinelli, Rudy Gay and Dante Cunningham find minutes at small forward. So the road to minutes will not be easy for the former Oklahoma City Thunder draft pick.
As noted, Pondexter’s value comes from his outside shooting and potential defensive ability, which will make or break how far Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pushes him in the rotation. If he returns to a 43.3 percent clip from a 2014-15 stint with the New Orleans Pelicans, then San Antonio might have an interesting player to use off the bench. That’s along with the display of athleticism to maintain positioning against the Western Conference’s wings.
Spurs fans will receive their first look at Pondexter in the Silver and Black on Sept. 30, when the preseason schedule opens against the Miami Heat.