San Antonio handed Malaki Branham a more prominent role in their offense after countless injuries decimated the depth chart last season, and he made the most of his expanded workload and left a lasting impression on the front office. After successful stints at Las Vegas Summer League and the California Classic, the second-year guard maintained his momentum with a stellar preseason debut. He notched 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting while operating as the engine of the second unit.
Branham struggled to score efficiently as a rookie, but added strength and experience allowed him to get to his spots versus the Thunder. He lowered his shoulder to displace defenders, dropped delicate floaters from paint, navigated ball screens for midrange jumpers, attacked unbalanced closeouts with off-foot finishes, curled dribble handoffs to create space, and buried a pair of catch-and-shoot three-pointers. His refined feel with and without the ball should help him earn regular rotation minutes.