Who will Back Up Parker?

The San Antonio Spurs’ roster is loaded at the point guard position but which players among them will step-up to be the official back-up next season?

The San Antonio Spurs are a team coming off a painful defeat in the NBA Finals and the lack of bench point guard play was one of the team’s glaring issues. The Spurs have several young point guards on the roster but none of them seem to be panning out this off-season.

There are no clear cut favorites to assume the job of backing up Tony Parker next year; the position, even after summer league games, seems to be still in limbo.            

The Spurs are sacrificing a ton of roster space dedicated to the position but without any solid results. They have three players lobbying for the spot, Corey Joseph, Patty Mills, and Nando De Colo. So who among these three will likely take the lead? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

De Colo

  • Nando De Colo’s rookie year with the Spurs had its ups and downs; he never really was able to show experts/fans what he was capable of. He never established a style or an identity when he was on the court. Is he a slasher or a pure shooter? Is he facilitator or scoring point guard? No one outside the Spurs organization really knows for sure.
  • There is also some concern about his moral. He has already complained about his role on the Spurs (twice, during and after the season) and may be on a slippery slope when training camp starts in a couple months. His size and youth could be an asset for the Spurs but the likely hood he is the main back-up is still slim.

Mills

  • Patty Mills has the tools to play the NBA game but can be considered under-sized for the position at times. He is listed at six-feet tall and on most nights could be a defensive liability. Players like the Chicago Bulls’ Nate Robinson (standing 5 feet 9 inches) lately have proven differently, so Mills does have a chance to snag a legitimate role.
  • His outside shooting and speed on the perimeter are assets for the Spurs but the fact he wasn’t able to participate in the Summer League (due to injury) could affect his stock.

Joseph

  • Corey Joseph is a bright spot for the Spurs—at times. There are games where he appears he is ready for the back-up role and then there are games where he looks like D-League rookie. Consistency is an issue and also turning the ball over is as well. He averaged three turnovers a game in the Summer League. The Spurs are looking for a guard to maintain pace and efficiency next season.
  • Joseph’s three-point shooting can use improvement as well; he is a career 25% shooter. He is though very efficient inside the arc and can finish at the basket. He is still the front-runner for the back-up spot but the Spurs can’t possibly be 100% comfortable with the young player.        

The San Antonio Spurs have a serious decision to make in training camp in a couple months, because none of their point guards seem ready for the back-up role. They all have some good strengths but way too many weaknesses to their games. Don’t be surprised if the Spurs are eventually forced to bring in a veteran to back-up Parker sometime next season.

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