The NBA's regular season prologue is usually met with a casual attitude of "it's just the preseason." However, Spurs shooting guard Devin Vassell understands the importance of every rep. And after acquiring Victor Wembanyama this summer, their young core must change their approach.
San Antonio's starting lineup now includes Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Zach Collins, and Wembanyama. The key to success as this team ventures into uncharted territory is adaptability. Who better to have on your side when making such prominent adjustments than Vassell?
The young swingman is not one to brag, but we would be remiss not to acknowledge his impressive preseason performances. Vassell scorched the Heat for 21 points in 21 minutes, and he continued his excellent form with 25 points in the first half against the Rockets on Wednesday night. He has also been the best three-point shooter in the league, nailing an absurd 60% of his shots from beyond the arc.
It isn't worth worrying if you see Vassell's assist numbers decline this season. His role has expanded beyond simply creating opportunities for others to score. The four-year veteran will be most effective for the Spurs when the coaching staff gives him the freedom to roam, relocate, and secure his spots within the flow of the offense.
Victor and Vassell have blooming on-court chemistry
Wembanyama is already a fan favorite. His knack for drawing extra defenders during the game helps players like Vassell score. Wemby and Vassell have outstanding chemistry, and the tandem engages in a classic basketball dance every time they share the court. When the opposition hones in on the 7-foot-3 giant, they forget about the 6-foot-5 sniper, who consistently drains three-pointers.
"With Vic, it makes the game so easy," Vassell said. "As soon as he rolls or pops, or if he's in the post, he has so much attention that we're just wide open on the kickout. I think it's just him trusting us, us trusting him, and us just building chemistry off that."
These phenomenal performances show the players have built a strong level of trust with a unique talent like Wembanyama. One of the standout moments from Wednesday night was when Victor contorted his body into an unimaginable position to keep the ball in bounds while looking to pass to Vassell in the corner. For Wemby, making plays like this is effortless because he has confidence in his teammates waiting on the perimeter.
Devin remains humble throughout the process
As Vassell continues to impress Spurs Nation, he has remained humble. During postgame media availability following San Antonio's win over their in-state rivals, the Atlanta native clarified that his success was not due to a selfish desire to be the leading scorer. It just happened to be his night.
"Today I was hitting, next game it could be [Keldon], next game it could be Vic, " Vassell told reporters. "Whatever the case may be, we all just have to feed off each other. We're not selfish on this team [...] It doesn't matter who scores [the most] amount of points, it's a matter of us winning."
Unselfish ball movement and trust are vital to the Spurs finding success this season. Wemby will force opponents to use meticulous defensive strategies that open the court for his teammates. Fans are merely witnessing the tip of the iceberg of what Devin Vassell can do when he has room to cook.