It’s been a rough stretch for our beloved San Antonio Spurs. Like really, really rough. Going 1-14 in the month of November with the worst net rating in the league will do that to you. If you’re here reading this, I probably needn’t have told you that, nor do I need to make an attempt at cheering you up. You’re still paying attention to this team because, as Roberto broke down in the article linked above, you know that there is seemingly a much brighter future ahead.
During the team’s hot start, it looked like Keldon Johnson might continue the trend of Spurs youth taking a leap and entering the All-Star conversation (Dejounte Murray having done the same last year). That hope is all but gone, and no other player donning the Silver & Black looks bound to participate in All-Star weekend. However, there has been improvement in play basically across the board for the young Spurs.
I’m writing this article for a couple of reasons. One, look, I know that we covered how if you're here, you most likely don’t need to be cheered up about this Spurs season. But there is always room for more joy, especially in an NBA community that is prone to toxicity. Two—and this likely goes hand in hand with another reason that you continue to keep up with the team—it’s fun to track the growth of the young guys in San Antonio; this is an attempt at doing that in a creative fashion.
The past few years, there have typically been 5 main events at ASW: Friday we see the Rising Stars game (historically a showdown between rookies and sophomores); on Saturday is the Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Contest, and the Dunk Contest; and Sunday is the day of the actual All-Star Game. My question is, which Spur is best suited for each of these events?
Note: in my most recent article I had another exercise in which I had to build a lineup of Spurs, and I placed some limits to roster construction as a way to challenge myself. I will do the same here— once a player is chosen for an event, they cannot be selected again. Also, I’ll be listing the likelihood of each selection happening in the title— ranked 1-5 in parentheses, with 1 being the most likely.
Rising Stars Game: Jeremy Sochan (1)
Following the release of Josh Primo, Sochan is the only answer here. The only other first- and second-year players on the roster are Malaki Branham, Blake Wesley, Dominick Barlow, and Charles Bassey. While all have flashed, none has played nearly enough minutes to qualify for this game, so it’s gotta be Jeremy here. That’s a shame because I would’ve loved to see him participate in the Skills Challenge.
At the 2022 All-Star Weekend held in Cleveland, the format changed in a big way. You can read up on that here if you’re interested. In addition to the new tournament style, four players from the G-League Ignite team were included. Watching Sochan put the clamps on potential future Spur Scoot Henderson along with other young stars around the league, would be a lot of fun. Sochan would hopefully also be given free rein to flash his on-ball offensive skills here.