Spurs fans lost out on seeing Devin Vassell reach his full potential after nagging knee soreness and a minor arthroscopic procedure left him on the sidelines for most of last season. Despite missing over two months of their schedule, he increased his scoring volume, achieved a career-high in assists, and dropped 29 points on the Atlanta Hawks in arguably his best performance as a professional.
The 23-year-old swingman left everyone excited about what he has in store for the future. While the coaching staff contemplates the best ways to use Victor Wembanyama, Vassell has embarked on a journey of self-discovery. He came out of the gates on a heater, catching the eye of several national outlets, including Bleacher Report, which believes he has the potential for a breakout season.
This recent article suggests that shifting Jeremy Sochan to starting point guard will relieve Vassell of his previous responsibilities as a playmaker. This move should allow him to focus on shot-making and expanding his scoring repertoire. Although he has consistently knocked down his midrange jumpers, his three-point percentage took slight a hit after struggling to drain pull-up attempts from beyond the arc against the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.
Despite misfiring from deep at the beginning of the season, Vassell has performed well with physical finishes at the basket. Furthermore, he has established a rock-solid rapport with Wemby and become one of the quickest and most effective passers, setting the rookie up in his favorite spots on the floor. Vassell nails catch-and-shoot looks with ease, but rising off the dribble is his bread and butter.
There is immense potential for Vassell to have stellar performances this season, making him a viable contender for Most Improved Player of the Year. Coach Popovich has expressed a desire for Vassell to be more assertive with his possessions, but that can be challenging with someone like Wemby in your orbit. Once the starting lineup establishes some reliable chemistry, we should expect Vassell's versatility to shine more often.