Blake Wesley endured a roller coaster of compelling peaks and frustrating valleys during his first go-round with the San Antonio Spurs. He thrived as a reserve in his regular-season debut, tore his left meniscus eight minutes into the second game of his career, and struggled to get back up to speed and rediscover a consistent rhythm after returning to the court.
The coaching staff tasked the 20-year-old with backup point guard duties as the club moved further from playoff contention. And while he displayed some intriguing playmaking potential, the early returns went about as well as you might expect for a youngster learning a new position at the highest level of competition, with the negatives outweighing the positives.
Though Wesley is one of the quickest players in the NBA, his lack of touch from almost every inch of the hardwood often negates the advantages his speed creates. That elite first step allows him to burst past defenders and get two feet inside the paint on demand. But his effortless downhill forays usually end with an unsuccessful venture around the basket.
The six-four floor general landed in the bottom first percentile on runners (0.27 PPS) and at the rim (0.76 PPS). Wesley also ranked last in efficiency on layups (0.58 PPS) out of the 495 players with at least ten attempts. He was particularly unproductive inside the arc, and that is a problem Wesley must address if he hopes to become a legitimate rotation piece.
Because Blake has a slender frame, stronger defenders can knock him off driving angles. His minimal vertical explosion in a crowd makes it too easy for rim protectors to send his shots into orbit. These limitations, combined with an aversion to contact, force him to depend on midair adjustments or off-balance midrange jumpers to bail him out when he faces resistance.
Most of these issues were detectable during his one-and-done season at Notre Dame, and no one should have expected Wesley to post impressive numbers as a rookie. There is a reason he was the final prospect the front office picked in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, and fans should be more patient with his development than they are with Jeremy Sochan or Malaki Branham.
Patching those holes should take precedence this summer, but what does that entail for Wesley? Spending hours poring through film, partaking in as many scrimmages as possible, and living in the weight room probably isn't a terrible place for him to start. He will have around six months to sharpen his mind and body. Now it is up to Blake to put in the necessary work.