4 Players who must rise to the occasion for the inconsistent Spurs

After a rough start to the season for the San Antonio Spurs, these 4 players have a chance to rise to the occasion and solidify their future with the team.
Devin Vassell - Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
Devin Vassell - Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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Cedi Osman

While I’d argue that Vassell and Branham have both the most pressure and the biggest opportunity to prove their long-term worth this season, a couple of non-starters have a significant opportunity in front of them as well, beginning with Cedi Osman. Osman was originally a player I thought could be rerouted via trade before the regular season even began, but he’s emerged as debatably the Spurs’ most consistent role player, to the point that Victor Wembanyama labeled him as one of the best decision-makers on the team.

He’s emerged in this way for several reasons, but primarily because he’s shooting the ball well and making good decisions. He’s currently tied his second-most-efficient three-point shooting season of his career (shooting 37% on 3.6 attempts per game) and has the lowest turnover rate of any player on the roster playing more than 10 minutes per game. There isn’t much more to be said—if those things continue and he can be had on a team-friendly contract after he expires this coming offseason, expect him to stick around in San Antonio.

Dominick Barlow

Charles Bassey was originally slated to be on this list, but now that he’ll be sidelined with a torn ACL for the remainder of the season, an immense opportunity has opened for Spurs two-way signee Dominick Barlow. The 20-year-old big has been on a tear in the G League, sitting as the current scoring leader runner-up (only behind Cam Whitmore) and is only one of six players in the past 10 G League seasons to average 25 points and 7 rebounds per game, per @EmilianoNaiar8:

Frankly, the Spurs are lucky that another team didn’t offer Barlow a standard contract after his performances in the Las Vegas Summer League this past offseason. Now, he's undoubtedly entering “too good for G League” territory in only his sophomore season—an outstanding feat for a player who went undrafted only a season and a half ago. With that considered, if he can make a positive impact in NBA games and perhaps even surpass Sandro Mamukelashvili in the rotation of Spurs bigs, that will almost certainly be enough to convince the Spurs front office to sign him to a standard contract and match any other team’s offers.