The Time to fully unleash Devin Vassell is now
At this point in his development, Vassell is reminiscent of a musician who’s stuck to sheet music. For some people, a natural feel for the craft guides them as others meticulously study their music books to hit each note right. Some people can create beautiful music through pure instinct, but that raw potential is only that without refinement. When an artist learns to string chords into progressions and progressions into songs, they achieve another level of their abilities.
Right now, Vassell is a novice musician who reads music and replicates it nicely—but he’s not pouring his soul into a song and putting it out there for the world to experience. His ability to use his 3-point prowess and defensive capabilities to propel himself to another tier will be the difference between Vassell performing covers at coffee shops or becoming an international rockstar.
One of the biggest hurdles will be fine-tuning Vassell’s ball-handling skills so that he can get to the basket without relying on a backscreen or pocket pass. Few skills take more time, effort and correction than becoming a rhythm dribbler, so we’ll have to wait and see on how that plays out.
On the flip side, Vassell has to work internally on being less timid during his limited opportunities. There are instances when he touches the ball and looks to pass it off as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s a function of the offense, but there are moments when he lets himself fall into the background. Finding the balance of asserting his will on the game and fitting into the Spurs system is a hurdle that almost every player who comes through San Antonio tackles.
At one time or another, every great artist finds their voice. The same applies to basketball players, who oftentimes have to learn how to make it in the league before learning how to make the league work for them.
There’s a world in which everything falls into place and Vassell becomes an All-Star level player—but he won’t get there unless his coaches alter the game plan to steadily push him to be the absolute best on-court version of himself.