3 Young players the Spurs must develop, 3 to give up on

Malaki Branham, Victor Wembanyama, Blake Wesley, Julian Champagnie, Dominick Barlow
Malaki Branham, Victor Wembanyama, Blake Wesley, Julian Champagnie, Dominick Barlow / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Don't Develop: Blake Wesley

One season might be too soon to give up on 2022 first-round pick Blake Wesley, but perhaps the Spurs should start the clock. Why? Because the team's timeline has dramatically changed since drafting Wembanyama. Had they not, they could have afforded Wesley more time to develop. Fortunately, the Spurs did, and Wesley may be a casualty of the accelerated rebuild. Wesley is only 20, but point guards often take longer to develop, and it could take him the majority of his rookie deal for him to develop into an NBA-caliber backup.

That doesn't mean that San Antonio should actively seek to cut bait with him; instead, it should look for more established players to fill the role of point guard until Wesley proves that he can. They did that by adding Cam Payne, presumably to back up Tre Jones, leaving Wesley fourth on the depth chart at the moment.

Assuming that the Spurs trade Devonte Graham, he will still be a distant third in the point guard pecking order next season and will probably spend significant time playing in Austin. That would give him a bit more time to develop, but if he isn't ready for a bigger role after next season, then the Spurs shouldn't hesitate to give him the Luka Samamic treatment.

Instead of keeping Samamic around because they used a first-round pick on him, they opted to cut him for a better player in Keita-Bates Diop. That might not have moved the needle a ton, but he was the better player and helped the Spurs more than Samanic would've. If they were willing to do that in the middle of a rebuild, then they should do the same now that they are looking to compete.

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