The name Devin Vassell can elicit mixed reactions from fans right now. Some are happy with his numbers and are content with watching him grow, but others are more critical of his shot selection and lack of aggressiveness. The detractors seem to believe that since he signed a new contract, he should start playing like a superstar. As with most polarizing topics, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
"I think there's times when I might miss two or three shots and I shy away... at the end of the day, the team needs me to be aggressive." - Devin Vassell Milwaukee Bucks postgame
If Devin can admit he has lacked aggressiveness, that should be the end of that part of the discourse. But nuance is important. Signing a new contract does not make Vassell a seasoned veteran. The theme of the season is patience due to youth, a fact that cannot be overstated. The Georgia product is still only 23 years old.
Patience with Vassell will pay off huge for Spurs
The calls for Vassell to attack more are valid. The Bucks game was a perfect example of what his numbers can look like when he gets downhill, imposing his will in the paint. This is a two-things-can-be-true type of scenario, though. He takes too many tough shots, yes but he also makes a very efficient amount of those shots.
The volatility of shooting tough shots has already been on display. In November, Vassell shot 45% from distance, while he saw that number drop to 32% in December. When that shot is not falling, he still needs to be able to put numbers on the scoreboard because this team is not deep enough to completely lose his production. More field goal attempts in the paint and more trips to the free throw line will help him, which helps the team but again, he's 23 and he's finding that out.
The Florida State Seminole confirmed an understanding of his role as aggressor in that Bucks postgame interview. He showed that comprehension when he dropped 34 against Giannis and Milwaukee on 21 shot attempts with a 66.7% field goal percentage. This is after a loss to Memphis in which he only shot the ball eight times. Not nearly enough, as Victor Wembanyama and Keldon Johnson had 16 attempts each.
This is life right now for the San Antonio Spurs. Young players taking on new roles are bound to make mistakes and play with inconsistency. As long as you can see improvements and flashes of brilliance, the team is on the right track. You would be hard-pressed to convince a reasonable observer that there haven't been both of those things from Devin this season.