San Antonio Spurs breakout candidate 3: Devin Vassell
It's hard not to love what I see when Devin Vassell is on the floor. He plays intelligently and disciplined, rarely makes mistakes, and is efficient on both ends. Getting 17 minutes a night under Gregg Popovich as a rookie was an accomplishment in itself, and next season should come with even more opportunities for the 21-year-old.
If there's one thing that's always earned minutes in San Antonio's system, it's playing solid defense. In just his second year, Vassell is already a top defender on the team. His instincts for reading a play were already impressive in year one, and he'll only improve as he continues to develop his game.
An important thing to watch with Vassell will be his growth on the offensive end. He shot nearly 40% from downtown for much of last season until a late slump brought him back down to 34.7. Still, his high release and pretty shot show me he should be an important perimeter weapon throughout his NBA career.
Like Walker, Vassell's game can excel whether he comes off the bench or not, but I could see a scenario where his overall game impact makes it tough for Coach Popovich to ignore.
I expect big things from Devin next season and going forward. Playing his way into a starting role is one of those things, and it could happen sooner than you think.