3 Spurs players who must step up after Primo’s sudden release

Blake Wesley, Gregg Popovich - Gregg Popovich coaching Blake Wesley
Blake Wesley, Gregg Popovich - Gregg Popovich coaching Blake Wesley / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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Just before their game against the Chicago Bulls, the San Antonio Spurs shocked the NBA by announcing that they have waived 19-year-old guard Josh Primo. This came as a surprise not only to Spurs fans but to the entire league for several reasons. But what really stands out the most about his release is that the Spurs have now let go of a lottery pick after only one season and four games, only weeks after exercising his team option. Recent events have made it abundantly clear that basketball had nothing to do with his release, but that's a story of its own.

Before his shocking release, Primo was being touted as a major building block and future cornerstone by a Spurs organization that is trying to get back to their consistent winning ways. The coaching staff was working closely with him to develop his game and Gregg Popovich relied on him to provide steady contributions as a member of the second unit, as indicated by the 23.3 minutes per game that he played in four games this season.

The young guard scored 7 points per game, which provided a steady scoring punch from the bench, but his most major contribution was the 4.5 dimes that he dished out per game, which helped the young squad establish themselves as an elite playmaking team early in the season.

Primo’s abrupt exit certainly leaves a void that needs to be filled and here are three players who need to step up their game to make up for the hole that the former Spurs guard will be leaving behind.

Doug McDermott

The 6’6” forward is one of the Spurs' veterans and is one of their steadiest contributors off the bench. In six games so far this year, he has scored 10 points per game while shooting 43% from downtown. His laser three-point shooting allows the Spurs to space the offense every time he steps on the floor. Opposing defenses have to focus on him which allows the Spurs to create more scoring opportunities for others.

McBuckets has been and will always be a laser three-point shooter, but perhaps it's time for him to work on another aspect of his game. For his career, McDermott has only dished 0.9 assists per game. A major chunk of the Spurs' playmaking will be left behind with Primo, but McDermott can partially fill that hole by working on his passing game.

The floor spacing and ball movement that the Spurs have displayed so far this season have provided opportunities for the sweet-shooting forward to find open teammates for easy baskets, as he's already dropping a career-best 1.7 assists per game. He should continue to let it fly when he feels like he has a good look at the basket, but now also feels like the perfect time for McDermott to step up his playmaking. Not only would that undoubtedly benefit the Spurs while he's on the roster, but it could also inflate his value on the trade market.