5. Branham blossoming into 3-level scorer
The 20th overall pick in the 2022 draft showed plenty as a rookie. He averaged 10.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 23.5 minutes per game. Branham was inconsistent, like most rookies, as he scored over 20 points ten times and five or fewer in 25 games.
Over the final 29 contests, Branham averaged 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. He shot 46.0 percent from the field, 32.4 percent on his threes, and 84.6 percent from the foul line. The 20-year-old has immense potential, and the Spurs hope for a second-year breakout.
Malaki Branham must improve his defense, but he could quickly become a 3-level scorer. He displayed more confidence in his jumper as his rookie year progressed. Branham finished well inside and showcased a strong mid-range game. If he can become an average or better 3-point shooter, there will be zero stopping the 6’5 wing.
Expect Branham to have a larger role in year two, and Victor Wembanyama will create plenty of open looks for the 20-year-old. Can he knock them down consistently? Branham has put in a ton of work on his jumper, and his smile is infectious in the locker room. The San Antonio Spurs want him to blossom into a three-level scorer and key piece next to Wemby for the foreseeable future.