Three X-Factors that could alter the trajectory of the Spurs this season

Victor Wembanyama, Keldon Johnson
Victor Wembanyama, Keldon Johnson / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Malaki Branham developing offensive consistency

I was very effusive in my praise of Malaki in my most recent article. There are not a whole lot of people higher on Mr. Branham than yours truly—there weren’t many reasons to tune into Spurs basketball last season better than Malaki’s capacity to have a flamethrower quarter or half. In the aforementioned article, I wrote about my excitement over Malaki’s growth as a scorer in the second half of the season.

What I didn’t speak much on, however, is the fact that Branham was a bit hot-and-cold last year. That’s more than typical for a rookie, but still something to look for some improvement on this coming season. The difference between a good and an elite shooter is consistency; Spurs fans have become accustomed to good shooters recently with the likes of Bryn Forbes and Marco Bellinelli.

The good news on Branham in comparison to those guys is that although he’s “solely” a good shooter at the moment, he also has the frame and capability to be a solid defender. Even if his shot is inconsistent game-to-game, Malaki’s composition (his pre-draft measurables were 6’5” 180lbs with a  6’10” wingspan) plus another year in the Popovich defensive system (more on that later) could lead to a pretty exciting outcome.

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