Spurs News Roundup: Johnson is back, other players skid

Russell Westbrook, Zach Collins
Russell Westbrook, Zach Collins / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs have lost 13 of their last 14 games, and the majority of the contests have not been particularly close. This has been the expectation all season, as the Spurs are without a marquee player or even a fringe All-Star.

The Spurs started the season hot thanks to unexpected performances, although role players have been struggling recently. Namely, Charles Bassey. The 22-year-old forward was an underrated pickup and got off to a hot start in Austin and San Antonio, but the last three games have seen him average under two points, rebounds, assists, or any other meaningful category.

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To be more optimistic, rookie Malaki Branham posted eight points and two assists in only 16 minutes of play in the most recent loss, and he looked confident from behind the arc. Jeremy Sochan continues to improve and looks like a foundational piece, and Keldon Johnson looks back. After a four-game stretch that saw him average only 10.8 points on 3/27 shooting from deep, Johnson bounced back and posted a 26-point double-double, his second of the season.

I’m not sure if any Devin Vassell doubters are out there, but if they remain, they ought to be silenced. Vassell is now averaging 20.4 points per game -- the same as Johnson-- and is shooting over 40% from behind the arc. While Johnson slid a bit over the last ten games, Vassell continued to post a 20ppg average and is making a strong case to be named the best player on the roster. 

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Elsewhere in the NBA, the Lakers continue to play poorly despite beating the Spurs three times in the last two weeks by a total of 47 points. They are outside the playoff picture for the second time in two years, which is hilarious. Former Spur Lonnie Walker is the third-best scorer on that team, although turnovers have been a problem for him. In his most recent outings against the Spurs, he posted 19 and 18 points.

The Chicago Bulls are 12th in the Eastern Conference and owe their 2023 Draft pick to the Orlando Magic, which they traded away in exchange for Nikola Vucevic, which has been just a great deal for them. The Bulls own their own pick in 2024, but with little time to improve and an aging roster, the 2025 top-ten protected pick they owe the Spurs might translate into a late lottery selection. 

Next. DaRon Holmes II is the Spurs center prospect nobody is talking about (yet). dark

Finally, it looks like the disappointing Mavericks are all in on winning, signing free agent point guard Kemba Walker and avoiding the unlikely train wreck of him landing in San Antonio to fill the void left by Josh Primo.