Spurs: 3 Players Chimezie Metu should be studying during break from play
By Ethan Farina
He’s spent much of his first two years in the G-League but Chimezie Metu has the talent to be an offensive force for the San Antonio Spurs
After being selected with the 49th pick in 2018, Chimezie Metu has spent his first two seasons bouncing between the San Antonio Spurs and their G-League affiliate in Austin. We haven’t been able to see much of him in the NBA but his performance in the G-League has been enough to excite Spurs fans.
In the aftermath of Marcus Morris changing his mind about his future, it looked like Metu was in line for increased minutes this season. But the success that Trey Lyles found in his first year with the Spurs is going to make it even harder for Metu to get solid NBA playing time.
He can try to break through whenever the season resumes but with Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge in his way, it’s unlikely Metu cracks the lineup before next year. And with the season in suspension, it’s hard to say exactly when that will be.
During this break in the season, Metu could take some time to study some film of the older greats to try to add to his game. These three players would be a good place to start.
Next: A positional pioneer
Chris Bosh is looked at as the prototype for modern-day forwards. Other’s before him had stretched the floor but few were able to score from the post to beyond the arc as prolifically as Bosh.
One area of Bosh’s game that Metu should focus on is how he attacked after facing up. He was able to mix strength with speed and power through or around most opponents. He made bank shots a regular part of his game and used angles from all over the backboard to find new ways to score.
Metu has shown flashes of a Bosh-like offensive game in Austin. He’s a good face-up scorer, able to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim on his own. But he should watch how quickly Bosh was able to attack once he got the ball. There was very little wasted time, he was able to read, make his move, and score in a flash.
Like Bosh, Metu can push his game past the 3-point line. It was something that he had worked on over the summer, he was shooting 36 percent from behind the arc in the G-League. Continuing to make that a bigger part of his game, as Bosh did in the later parts of his career, will help Metu fast track his break in the rotation.
Next: The standard in the league
If Bosh was the prototype, Bam Adebayo is the newest edition of what the best big men in the NBA should strive to be. In his third season in the league, the Miami Heat’s do it all mountain of muscle made it to his first All-Star game and was in contention for an All-NBA with how he had been playing.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe has a great piece on what makes Bam go, it’s one of the best NBA articles written this year. By many accounts, Bam has an otherworldly work ethic, is hyper-competitive, and cares for little outside of basketball. In short, he’s exactly what the Miami Heat wanted.
On the court, Metu compares well in size with Adebayo. Bam is bigger, he’s got close to 30 pounds on Metu, but other than that their measurable line up well. Metu can study tape on Bam to figure out exactly how he was able to thrive in the NBA as a smaller center.
The two areas of Bam’s game that Metu should focus on most are his perimeter defense and his passing. Bam’s come along as a scorer and playmaker but he came into the league as a plus defender. That’s only improved as he’s grown.
Adebayo is one of the rarest types of defenders in the league, capable of giving Giannis Antetokounmpo problems in the paint and stepping out to cover Kemba Walker on the perimeter. In Lowe’s piece, he notes how Adebayo’s former teammate De’Aaron Fox teased Bam about wanting to be a guard. He certainly defends like one.
He gets low in his stance out near the 3-point line, spreading his 7’1 wingspan as wide as he can. He combines that intimidating fame with quick feet to clog driving lanes and prevent passes from getting through. If Metu can match that kind of technique and frenzy he will be a defensive force for the Spurs.
Next: His coach
Who better to study film on than the Big Fundamental? Metu and every other Spurs player should be trying to get the most they can out of having Tim Duncan as an assistant coach. That could include picking his brain on some old film during the stoppage in play.
On offense, Metu should watch Duncan’s mid-post work. Like Bosh, Duncan had a mean face-up game and was a bank shot connoisseur. His hook shots and running banks should also be on the must-watch list.
His defensive highlights are obviously on the list as well. Metu has improved as a defender in his first two seasons, he was averaging 3.7 combined steals and blocks this year, but he still has a long way to go.
In particular, Metu should watch how Duncan was able to contest and send back so many shots without getting himself into foul trouble too often. Fouls have been an issue for Metu so far and that will only get worse in the NBA where the game will be faster and veterans will be looking to bait an inexperienced player into easy points.
We don’t know when the NBA season might pick up again. Like many fans, Chimezie Metu can spend some time during this hiatus to watch some film of the old greats. Hopefully, he can come back with a little of their game built into his when this is all over.