The San Antonio Spurs are a little over one month into the NBA offseason, but they only have a single vacancy to fill before meeting maximum roster capacity. Dominick Barlow put pen to paper for the first two-way contract during Las Vegas Summer League, and General Manager Brian Wright still has a final decision on his hands.
A handful of prospects made memorable impressions in Sin City, leaving a rebuilding Spurs organization with several reasons to bring them along for a possible journey into the unfamiliar territory of tanking. Robert Woodard II, Jordan Hall, Joe Wieskamp, Darius Days, and D.J. Stewart Jr. are clear-cut candidates, but who deserves the last two-way deal?
Your Summer League Spurs warming up for their first game: pic.twitter.com/SD4jXlunev
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) July 8, 2022
Last week, I had a chance to cover these players on the sidelines of Cox Pavillion and the Thomas & Mack Center, a vantage point that magnifies every minor misstep or routine chore. So, let’s break down the legitimate contenders from least to most likely to attain the coveted job of splitting time between San Antonio and Austin.
5. Robert Woodard II
The Spurs signed Robert Woodard II to a two-way contract on March 4th after converting Joe Wieskamp and Devontae Cacok onto standard deals, but he never got a legitimate chance to prove himself to PATFO. He suited up for ten games in Austin, putting up modest numbers as one of the main scoring options during the last leg of the season for Petar Bozic.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 16, 2022
While Woodard didn’t earn an NBA paycheck from San Antonio, they gave him another opportunity to display his talent with their Las Vegas Summer League team. His length, strength, activity, and athleticism popped on the defensive end, holding opponents to 4-of-22 (18.2%) from the field, which ranked in the 97th percentile among 347 qualified players.
Unfortunately, the 22-year-old forward was a disaster on the other end of the court. He only went 9-of-37 (24.3%), tying the third-worst mark out of the 240 players who took at least 20 shots in Sin City. A small sample can be misleading, and there were flashes of ball skills, but his inability to nail open looks and create for others was unmistakable.
4. D.J. Stewart Jr.
D.J. Stewart Jr. also inked a two-way contract with San Antonio on March 4th, landing in a virtually identical situation as his former Mississippi State teammate. While he performed much better than Woodard with the Austin Spurs, the 22-year-old swingman faced a steeper climb to secure another opportunity in the 2-1-0, especially given their crowded backcourt.
Sweet finish by DJ 🔥
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 16, 2022
The six-six guard may not have broken out in a conventional sense, but he looked the part of an NBA role player. Stewart relocated well, drilled spot-up threes, made timely cuts, attacked closeouts, supplied accurate drive-and-kick passes, and capitalized on limited pick-and-roll possessions. He shot an exceptional 17-of-30 (56.7%) from the field in Vegas.
Sound execution on the other side of the hardwood made Stewart among the more reliable contributors each time out for the Spurs. Though he had four combined blocks and steals, Stewart only recorded eight fouls in 110 minutes. He challenged jumpers, his pick-and-roll defense was solid, and opponents shot 5-of-20 (25%) against him at Summer League.
3. Jordan Hall
Jordan Hall was ranked 58th on my Big Board, and there was no doubt in my mind that he would become one of the best pickups on the undrafted free agent market. Several pundits predicted the jumbo playmaker would stroll into a two-way contract after Summer League. So what went wrong for Hall? And should he still be in consideration for a roster spot?
There’s no delicate way to word this. Hall was a catastrophe in almost any way conceivable. The six-eight point guard placed below the bottom 15th percentile in overall offense and defense in Las Vegas, seeing his minutes and role decrease. Regardless, the coaching staff rarely utilized Hall in an ideal context for his skills, undeniably impacting his performance.
The six-eight floor general is likely a better spot-up marksman than his 4-of-15 (26.7%) showing suggests, though his struggles finishing around the rim are nothing new. Hall should look more comfortable with the ball in his hands. His defense should improve once he isn’t covering smaller players and post-ups. He is worth a flyer as a unique passing prospect.
2. Darius Days
Everyone has a story about the one that got away, and Darius Days is the Summer League standout who slipped through the cracks for San Antonio and landed with his hometown Heat. The six-seven forward averaged 13.7 points and 10.0 boards on .556/.375/1.000 shooting splits while registering a pair of double-doubles in three games for the Summer Spurs.
Darius Days for THREEEEEEEEEE 🎯 pic.twitter.com/kRW57tZLmZ
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 11, 2022
Despite delivering remarkably efficient production off the bench for head coach Mitch Johnson, the front office watched the 22-year-old ink a two-way contract with their longtime cross-conference foe. The news reached the Spurs fans quickly, and everyone was left wondering why San Antonio didn’t show more urgency to snatch Days off the open market.
From Mario Chalmers, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, and Norris Cole to Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Omer Yurtseven, there is arguably no organization better at discovering and developing overlooked prospects than the Heat. Darius Days should surpass expectations in Vice City, but it would have been nice to see him in Silver and Black.
1. Joe Wieskamp
One of the most disappointing developments of the past couple of weeks was Joe Wieskamp spraining his ankle during the final practice before the Spurs left for Las Vegas and missing the entirety of Summer League. The 22-year-old mostly saw garbage time minutes during his rookie go-round, and this was a perfect chance to show off his progress.
Wieskamp drained 41.2% of his three-point attempts at Iowa, but he shot a slightly below-average 96-of-282 (34.0%) from long-distance in 69 games across every level of competition in his first year in the league. His stroke has always been smooth but acclimating to the speed, athleticism, and intelligence of NBA defenders isn’t a simple task.
The second-year sharpshooter worked with Chip Engelland to accelerate his release and pursued mentorship from Doug McDermott to enhance his off-ball movement. His defense was shoddy, but teams always have room for guys who space the floor for ball-handlers. PATFO needs his specialty, so don’t be shocked if he earns that final two-way contract.
All statistics courtesy of Synergy Sports, Basketball Reference, and NBA.com