With Devin Vassell, Jakob Poeltl, Keldon Johnson, and Josh Primo all sitting last night, the San Antonio Spurs fell to the New Orleans Pelicans in their third preseason outing with a final score of 111 to 97. Despite the loss and some bad performances that came with it, we felt that a couple of players stood out and are deserving of some praise.
The dud: Zach Collins
I hate to rag on Zach Collins, who is coming off of his first fully healthy offseason since entering the league, but he badly struggled last night and recorded a team-low +/- of -27. He missed several wide-open shots, looked undisciplined and lost on the defensive end, racked up several sloppy fouls, and didn't protect the rim particularly well for a seven-foot big man. While he was a low-risk gamble for the Spurs from the get-go when they signed him, he'll have to show some noticeable signs of improvement if he's to stay with the team long-term.
The studs: Gorgui Dieng and Dominick Barlow
I've been a big fan of Gorgui Dieng since his first stint with the team back in the 2020-'21 season and it's because of games like the one he had last night. He may not have been as impactful in the scoring column as, say, Doug McDermott or Josh Richardson, but he's a steady and versatile veteran who can do a bit of everything. He splashed a couple of threes, grabbed nine rebounds, racked up four assists, and had a team-high three steals. He showed in this game exactly why he's the perfect veteran to have around to help develop several young draft picks.
Meanwhile, Spurs rookie Dominick Barlow finally received some playing time tonight, albeit during garbage time, but was fantastic in his 6-minutes, 45-second run. In that time, he racked up an impressive nine points (shooting 100% from the field), three rebounds, one assist, and one block. The 6'9" forward is very mobile for his size, has a nice shooting stroke, and looks to have some rim protection upside. The young forward may very well have just earned himself some more meaningful playing time after last night's showing.
A few notable honorable mentions in this category include Doug McDermott, Malaki Branham, and Josh Richardson.