San Antonio Spurs: 1-sentence reviews of every new Spur
After yet another moderately disappointing season, the San Antonio Spurs were thrust into the offseason short of the Playoffs once again. Well before the draft and the beginning of free agency, fans knew that, sooner or later, the franchise would have to choose a direction to go in.
After selecting Josh Primo 12th overall in the draft with big names like Kai Jones, Alperen Sengun, and Usman Garuba still available, many Spurs fans were outraged. Not only did the selection feel like a huge reach (when compared to mock drafts), but fans did not seem to understand why the team decided to acquire yet another guard on an already guard-heavy roster.
My theory on the matter was that Primo's selection marked the beginning of a full-scale rebuild. While he certainly has tons of potential, he is also the youngest player in his draft class and it may be a while before he's able to reach his ceiling. If this did mark the beginning of a rebuild, though, that meant that the roster would need a big shake-up in free agency.
Thankfully, the Spurs' front office has not disappointed in free agency. Patty Mills and Rudy Gay have both moved on to new teams, and the Spurs packaged DeMar DeRozan in a sign-and-trade deal with the Chicago Bulls for draft compensation in return. Specifically, they'll be receiving two second-round picks (in 2022 and 2025) and a top-ten-protected first-round pick in 2025.
In addition to those picks, the Spurs also received Al-Farouq Aminu and Thaddeus Young from the Bulls. In unrestricted free agency, the team was also able to sign Portland Trailblazers big man Zach Collins, Australia's Jock Landale, Indiana Pacers forward Doug McDermott, and former Spur Bryn Forbes.
With all of these new signings, it's likely a bit difficult for some fans to keep up with all of the new faces and understand what each player will bring to the team. That said, our goal here is to give bite-sized, one-sentence reviews of each player so that fans can gain a basic understanding of who will be playing for the silver and black soon. This list will include both draft picks and all recent free-agent signees.
Al-Farouq Aminu is a long, versatile defender that will grab rebounds and provide a veteran presence off the bench.
Aminu's defense is by far his biggest selling point as his offense is and more or less always has been mediocre. That being said, at the end of close games, he can come in and provide some good defense on a tough matchup. While he's on the wrong side of 30, he plays smart basketball and is still in decent shape.
Zach Collins is a versatile big man and former lottery pick with untapped two-way potential, despite lingering health issues.
If the Spurs medical staff is able to get Collins healthy and keep him that way, the Spurs could have stumbled on a cheap, low-risk, high-reward player. Assuming for now that his injury won't significantly limit him long-term, he can defend multiple positions, projects as a stretch big, and provides the Spurs with some much-needed length.
Bryn Forbes is one of the league's best snipers and brings determination and playoff experience.
Anybody that's reading this who has watched the Spurs for over a year should know Bryn Forbes well by now. He's turned himself into one of the best three-point shooters in the league and now will bring championship experience after winning the NBA Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks. With that in mind though, I have concerns about his fit on the roster and that he'll be taking minutes from one or a few players in the Spurs' young core.
Jock Landale is an overlooked stretch big that plays with a chip on his shoulder and brings grit, championship experience, and outside shooting.
Even though I had no prior knowledge of Landale until this offseason, he may be my favorite acquisition by the Spurs. He played for Melbourne United in the NBL and led his team to a championship this past season. In the regular season, he averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, and shot roughly 39% from three. He was also named the NBL Grand Final MVP.
Doug McDermott is an efficient outside shooter and finisher that will space the floor.
There isn't too much to say beyond that, but I think it's also worth noting that his basketball IQ regularly goes underrated. Otherwise, he'll provide the Spurs with some much-needed three-point shooting for a decent price. His contract is especially appealing considering how other shooters like Duncan Robinson, for example, will be getting paid a total of $90 million over the next five years.
Josh Primo is a young, good-sized shooting guard that has upside as a three-level scorer, rebounder, and facilitator.
At only 18 years old, Primo is already coming into the league with good length and an impressive jump shot. His stats from Alabama are comparable to those of Devin Booker from college and he could have a similar ceiling with proper development. He's a gamble on long-term upside, but the gamble could be a very good one.
Joe Wieskamp is a knockdown shooter that brings a surprising amount of athleticism and rebounding ability.
Another way to think of Joe Wieskamp is Doug McDermott in a more athletic package. Wieskamp already projects as an efficient three-point shooter, but matches a bit better in terms of athleticism with the rest of the Spurs' young core. He had impressive strength and agility measurements at the NBA Combine and averaged 6.6 rebounds per game in college at only 6'6".
Thaddeus Young is a do-it-all power forward that will bring reliable production off the bench.
It's a bit difficult to describe Young in a single sentence, he does a bit of just about everything. Ultimately, I think he'll serve as a great 'glue guy' for the Spurs in that he'll fill in the holes that the rest of the roster members leave. When needed, he can score, rebound, facilitate, and play solid defense. He'll also be the oldest player on the roster and bring a needed veteran presence that won't require the ball being in his hands.
Ultimately, while the roster is very full for the time being, the Spurs have placed themselves in a good position to continue making moves in the offseason and/or acquire more assets near the trade deadline. I have a feeling that the front office is not quite done yet.