Vassell was the go-to guy on both ends of the floor at Florida State
During his college career at Florida State, he played a much different role than he played last season for the Spurs, suggesting that he has plenty of untapped upside. While has mostly served as a catch-and-shoot three-point shooter with the Spurs, he was given the opportunity to score in several other ways in college.
He was often featured as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll and scored consistently off spot-ups, pin downs, and direct handoffs. Through all of that, he managed to shoot a stellar 41.7% from beyond the arc.
While he didn't shoot nearly as well from three in his first season in the NBA, playing with the starting lineup could result in him getting better (and more frequent) looks. After all, were he to play more minutes next season, the Spurs could look to better utilize his underrated shooting ability. Coach Popovich could achieve this by running him off multiple screens to try and get him more open looks and even occasionally having him use ball screens to create for himself.
On the other end of the floor, Vassell already proved himself to be a strong team defender and could be even better this season. His inclusion in the starting lineup would give that unit five good defenders, a rarity in the NBA. Also, in my opinion, It would give the Spurs their best chance of competing against some of the league's best teams, especially in light of the offensive question marks surrounding the Spurs.
Overall, Vassel’s inclusion in the starting lineup is one that makes sense considering where the Spurs are as a franchise. With the team seemingly at the beginning of a rebuild, starting him could expedite his development as a player while also helping the team on the court next season.
Vassell's defensive ability is best utilized in the starting lineup where he could use his length to play the passing lanes and disrupt shots. On offense, his unlocked shooting could help the team address their biggest issue with the unit from last season. Ultimately, I believe that Vassell can and should become a starter this season.