These potential future San Antonio Spurs are shining in scrimmages so far
The NBA has pulled off what some thought was impossible and returned to ‘normal’ play inside the bubble. There are 22 teams in Orlando and, outside of a quick excursion to get some chicken wings, there have been very few disruptions. The San Antonio Spurs and the rest of the league can safely put all of their focus solely on their goals over these next few weeks.
These final eight regular-season games mean a variety of different things to each team. For championship contenders like the Lakers and Bucks, they’re an extension of training camp, warmup games to get them ready for a title run. For others like the Pelicans and Spurs, they’re a chance to scrap their way back into the playoffs. And for some, they’re just a final chance to experiment with different lineups and rotations before heading into offseason.
Outside of team goals, each player is coming into these games with their own set of individual motivations. Not everyone is gunning for a title, some guys are surely using this restart as a chance to boost their own value before entering free agency this fall. Recency bias is a powerful thing and a player going on an absolute tear in Orlando could easily result in a few extra dollars in his bank account when all is said and done.
The San Antonio Spurs have a few free agency decisions of their own to make in the coming months but the early performances of these three players should have caught their eyes.
Next: Dario Saric
San Antonio Spurs should be watching Dario Saric after his recent performance
After a shaky first scrimmage, Dario Saric bounced back and had an impressive performance in the Phoenix Suns second outing against the Boston Celtics.
Saric has always been an intriguing player. He’s got an intriguing combination of size, shooting and playmaking ability, and rebounding. He’s been on three teams in the past two seasons but seems to have found his home in Phoenix, at least for now.
Saric showed off his full arsenal of skills against Boston, tallying 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists on 62.5 percent shooting from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc.
He’s a restricted free agent this summer so the Suns can, and likely will match any deal he is offered. But that shouldn’t dissuade the Spurs from putting a deal on the table and seeing how the Suns decide to react.
If San Antonio decides to go for a full rebuild this summer we could see them part ways with both DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Both will be unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2021 and if the Spurs have already decided that they won’t try to keep them around after that then trading them away for assets would be the more logical path forward.
Aldridge stepping out of the Spurs frontcourt would open a window for Saric to step in. His game would compliment Jakob Poeltl well, he’s a natural playmaker and solid 3-point shooter who could play at the faster pace that the Spurs seem to be angling for.
He won’t cost a fortune but could be exactly the kind of complementary player that San Antonio needs. Keep an eye on how he plays over the rest of the regular season.
Next: Joe Harris
Joe Harris picked up right where he left off against the San Antonio Spurs
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the San Antonio Spurs should have their eyes on Joe Harris. The Nets small forward is a sniper, one of the best long-range shooters in the game today.
Even after months away from basketball, he wasted little time returning to form in the scrimmage against San Antonio, knocking down 40 percent of his three’s and looking very comfortable moving through screens to get to his spots.
Harris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could be in line for a major payday from a team looking to add his talents to their roster. Harris has risen from a relative unknown to one of the best shooters in the league, he connected on 47 percent of his triples last year before knocking down 41 percent this season. That’s the kind of marksmanship that teams will pay a pretty penny for.
The Nets will likely look to keep Harris around. His willingness to spot up in the corners or on the wings makes him an excellent role player next to All-NBA creators like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But Brooklyn might not be able to pay him what he’s looking for.
Brooklyn already has the hefty contracts of Irving, Durant, Caris LeVert, DeAndre Jordan, and Spencer Dinwiddie on their books. With the impacts of COVID-19 yet to be determined on the salary cap, they could potentially be unable to give Harris the long term security he may be looking for.
The Spurs are in a tricky salary cap situation of their own but if they’re able to offer Harris a deal he’d be interested in they should. Dejounte Murray and Derrick White are improving as shooters but they’d be better off with a legitimate long-range threat flanking them. Harris fits that role perfectly.
Next: Jerami Grant
The Air Alamo staff has a basketball crush on Jerami Grant
This is not the first time we’ve talked about how well Jerami Grant would fit with the San Antonio Spurs and it likely won’t be the last. We’re going to pound this drum until we know definitively where Grant is going to sign his next contract.
Grant is a versatile defender, he’s able to guard every position on the floor, can function as a wing, stretch four, or small ball center, and has knocked down nearly 40 percent of his 3-point attempts in the past two seasons. He’s the perfect complimentary stretch four to play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge or Jakob Poeltl.
And while Grant’s performances in scrimmages haven’t been too impressive thus far, there’s a large enough body of work over the past few years that no team eyeing him as a potential free-agent addition should be too concerned.
Grant’s been more of a sideshow to the Bol Bol show and a Troy Daniels breakout game than he has been a legitimate threat on the floor. But when Mike Malone has to shorten his rotations you can bet that Grant will be one of the players he leans on.
You can safely chalk his two underwhelming scrimmage performances up to rust and getting back into the swing of things. Grant will continue to be a valuable player for a team with legitimate title hopes, watch how he does over the rest of the regular season games, and in the playoffs before counting him out as a potential free-agent addition this summer.