Thrust into a role sooner than anyone suspected, Quinndary Weatherspoon is looking like a great pickup by the San Antonio Spurs.
In the San Antonio Spurs’ near-loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, we saw glimpses of a different version of second-round rookie Quinndary Weatherspoon. A 23-year-old from Mississippi State, Weatherspoon played a career-high 19 minutes against the Sixers and proved to the basketball world that he belongs in the NBA.
If not for the flurry of injuries sustained by the silver and black, there’s little chance that Weatherspoon would get minutes in meaningful games during the Orlando restart. Considering the team’s logjam of guards when you comb through the roster, there’s little room for rookies to make their way into the rotation. However, the absence of starting two-guard Bryn Forbes and a dearth of frontcourt help, head coach Gregg Popovich let the Bulldog loose.
Weatherspoon is physical and relentless but manages to make a methodical approach to the game. His decision-making is lightyears ahead of most other rookie and his potential as a bulky guard defender makes for a good pairing with the team’s backcourt construction. While Murray and White are great defenders, neither is physically imposing for their position. Though he’s a bit shorter than them at 6-foot-3, Weatherspoon is a bulky guard who uses his strength to force opposing ball-handlers into uncomfortable positions.
— Austin Spurs (@austin_spurs) August 4, 2020
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When forced to battle against Joel Embiid on the low block, Weatherspoon proved fearless. He used his center of gravity to keep attached at Embiid’s hips, swatting at the ball and holding off until double-teams came to force Embiid to make irregular passes to the perimeter. There’s an argument to be made that the 6-foot-3 point guard did a better job of defending Embiid than anyone else did in the Spurs’ third seeding game in Orlando.
The stat sheet won’t tell you everything that there is to know about Quinndary. His only bucket came on a 3-point jumper with space on the perimeter, but his three assists were what set him apart in limited time. No one on opposing teams knows what to expect from Weatherspoon, which he seemed to use to his advantage by bullying his defensive assignment on one end and finding open teammates on the other.
I can understand if this sounds flukey, but sometimes, you know talent when you see it. Maybe Weatherspoon isn’t going to be a team-altering player with the potential to lead them into this new era, but he’s got guts. San Antonio is building a young core that prioritizes team-basketball, physicality, athleticism and versatile defense. Weatherspoon fits the mold perfectly and could ultimately be that floor general for the second-unit that Patty Mills has been for years now.
Once again, it looks like the Spurs made the most of their second-round draft pick in 2019.