Josh Primo is going to get his chance this season. The Spurs are rebuilding — even Gregg Popovich says not to bet on them to win the title — and Primo, entering his second season (and still 19), is one of the most promising young players on their roster, someone with the chance to be part of whatever will be built in San Antonio the future. He just needs more experience.
Unfortunately, he’s going to start this season half a step behind after missing most of training camp due to a sprained left MCL, the team announced Thursday. He is expected to return in time for the season opener, according to the team.
Promo, the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, got into 50 games for the Spurs last season and averaged 5.8 points a game but wasn’t very efficient with his shot yet. He also spent a lot of time in the G-League (but then had to miss this past Summer League due to COVID).
With Dejounte Murray now in Atlanta, there is not only a starting spot open but also opportunities to run the offense — Primo is going to get a chance to show what he can do with that. It’s just not going to be for a little while due to his knee sprain.
NBA training camps just opened and teams have yet to play a preseason game, but already two contenders are dealing with problems.
The Celtics have the suspension of coach Ime Udoka as a distraction, plus defensive anchor center Robert Williams will miss at least the start of the season following another knee surgery.
The Suns have the distraction of a suspended owner who is selling the team, plus Jae Crowder is out and demanding a trade, and Deandre Ayton does not seem happy.
Corey Robinson of NBC Sports and myself go through all the training camp news, including the wilder ones with the Lakers and Nets, breaking down what to take away from all that — plus how good Zion Williamson and James Harden look physically.
Then the pair discusses the potential of the NBA doing away with the one-and-done role and letting 18-year-olds back in the game — is that good for the NBA?
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Keldon Johnson is poised to have a monster season on a rebuilding Spurs team.
Except he’s going to miss the start of training camp and the team’s preseason games. And could be out longer.
Johnson suffered a “right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym” the team announced Saturday. Posterior dislocations are rare (less than 5% of all dislocations) and are usually from a fall on an extended arm. Recovering from the injury depends on many factors but can extend out for months. However, the Spurs said Johnson is expected to be available for the start of the regular season less than a month from now.
Johnson averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last season, and is an elite perimeter shooter off the catch-and-shoot (39.8% from 3 overall), who also can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season (to Dejounte Murray, who is now in Atlanta).
The Spurs will be cautious with bringing Johnson back. Even in what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season as coach the Spurs are looking more to be part of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes than push for a playoff spot. Johnson is a quality player who helps San Antonio win games, which both is why they want him back healthy and why they are not going to rush him.
He was drafted No.57 by the Spurs, and even after that spent three more years playing in Italy before coming to San Antonio. He came off the bench in 67% of his NBA games. He was not near the most physically gifted player in the league, averaging 13.3 points per game for his career.
It’s an unusual resume for a Hall of Famer — but Manu Ginobili is unquestionably deserving of being in the Hall. Saturday night he was inducted.
“I’m not here because I was special,” Ginobili said. “I’m here because I was part of two of the most important teams… the Spurs winning four NBA championships and with my Argentinian national team winning [Olympic] gold in 2004.”
Ginobili sells himself short — he was special. Kobe Bryant called him one of his favorite people to compete against. Ginobili was a four-time NBA champion with the Spurs Sixth Man of the Year (2008), a two-time All-NBA player and a two-time All-Star. Ginobili isn’t just a Hall of Famer for his NBA play — he led Argentina to its only basketball gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. He is one of only two players to have won a EuroLeague title (2001), an NBA championship and Olympic gold (Bill Bradley is the other).
“The crazy thing about my career is that, while all this was happening with the Spurs, at the same time I had another career. And it was… as exciting and as fun as the one with the Spurs, and it was with my Argentinian national team,” Ginobili said.
Also enshrined in the Hall of Fame this year were legendary point guard Tim Hardaway, Hawks scoring machine Lou Hudson, former coaches George Karl, Del Harris, and Larry Costello, late NBA referee Hugh Evans, WNBA stars Lindsay Whalen and Swin Cash, men’s college coach Bob Huggins, women’s college coaches Marianne Stanley and Theresa Shank-Grentz, Yugoslav international star Radivoj Korac, plus three African-American pioneer selections from the early Harlem Globetrotters: Sonny Boswell, Inman Jackson, and Runt Pullins.
Iowa native Joe Wieskamp was on a two-way contract most of last season for the Spurs, but they converted that to a traditional NBA deal near the end of the campaign. The rookie wing showed some promise, including a 13-point game against the Raptors.
The Spurs have decided to bring Wieskamp back at the minimum, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
There is no word if this is a fully- or partially-guaranteed contract offer (it also could be non-guaranteed). The Spurs still have a couple of spots open at the end of their roster.
Because of that cap space, the Spurs roster will potentially be in flux all season. They are the most likely third team in any Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell trade, and that will apply to other bigger names as we move closer to the trade deadline. The Spurs will take on Russell Westbrook (then waive him) or some other unwanted player and contract to facilitate a deal, so long as San Antonio gets draft compensation for it.
As noted by Marks, the Spurs have 13 players with some level of contract guarantee on their roster, and while Tre Jones does not have any guaranteed money it’s difficult to imagine them letting him walk. If Wieskamp has guaranteed money this season, which is likely, that’s 15 players and rounds out the roster.