Devin Vassell is the overlooked rising star hiding in plain sight for the Spurs

San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets
San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs have recently been the talk of the league for months and with good reason. Imagine if Willy Wonka only sent out one golden ticket to his Chocolate Factory and San Antonio won the ultimate prize, Victor Wembanyama. There's truly nothing sweeter for happy-to-be-gluttonous Spurs fans who laugh at the opposing fan bases stuck with candy corn. But overlooked on this joyous occasion are the players emerging from San Antonio's own developmental factory that has been operating in the shadows for years.

Devin Vassell is South Texas' best-kept secret, ready to announce his arrival on the megaphone in his fourth season in the NBA. His smooth game has only improved each year as Coach Pop has handed him more minutes and more responsibilities. Vassell has shown attention to detail on both ends of the floor in a culture where that trust is earned and forged by fire. His offensive advancements have been noteworthy but his defensive versatility as a 6-foot-5 shooting guard with a 6-foot-10 wingspan could elevate him to another level.

Devin's Development

The statistical leaps that demonstrate Vassell's improvements are easy to find, and Spurs fans should look at them. But watching his skills on the hardwood is the best way to understand the tremendous steps he has taken as a scoring threat. The league will always have a spot for specialists, but players with versatility stand the test of time, and Vassell can play on or off the ball. He's shown the ability to spot-up and the craft to create his shot off the dribble at all three levels. The Florida State alum has added a sweet step-back to his game and showcased solid playmaking chops.

Everyone who has watched Gregg Popovich over the years knows the way to his heart is through a good bottle of wine and immaculate execution on defense. Vassell averaged a steal per game during the 2021 season, and though that number didn't increase, it didn't plummet when he saw an increase in usage within San Antonio's offense. Consistency on that end will be paramount, and he is already the best perimeter defender on the team. With the hype surrounding Wemby, teams will be focused on stopping the French phenom. But if they aren't careful, they'll end up as Vassell's victims.


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