How The Spurs Have Effectively Groomed Cory Joseph For These NBA Playoffs And Beyond

Ronald Martinez

The San Antonio Spurs have developed second-year guard Cory Joseph with a steady dose of NBA D-League assignments since drafting him 29th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. Now as the team works toward their first NBA Finals appearance since 2007, Joseph will be asked to contribute efficient, and effective minutes. Will Joseph be ready?

After playing in 40 NBA D-League games with the Austin Toros, Spurs guard Cory Joseph seemed absolutely ready for his 10 minutes of action Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Joseph chipped in 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in his 2013 NBA playoffs debut, and as the postseason unfolds for San Antonio, Joseph will be called upon as a reliable backup option at the guard position.

The Spurs have done a masterful job in developing Joseph since drafting him after his one year at Texas. Rather than storing Joseph at the end of their bench, the Spurs opted to give Joseph significant minutes in the NBA D-League to assist in his development. During his first two seasons, Joseph has been assigned eight times to the NBADL, and has averaged 17.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 36.6 minutes with the Austin Toros.

Before Joseph was called upon to provide relief for both Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs let Joseph develop his game with the Austin Toros once again this season. Joseph averaged 38.5 minutes in 26 games, which was just shy of a 6 minute increase from his minutes last season with the Toros. Joseph started in all 26 games and amounted over 40 minutes in 12 of those games. Joseph's time in the NBA D-League is now paying dividends for he and the Spurs, as the former Findlay Prep star will play an integral role in the Spurs playoff rotation.

In this injury riddled season for the Spurs, Joseph played in 28 games and started in 9 of those contests. Joseph rejoined the Spurs in late February after his fifth and final NBADL assignment this season, and reeled off efficient stats during his most productive two months as an NBA player. During those last two months of the Spurs' season, Joseph averaged 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. In the Spurs second-to-last game of the year, Joseph showcased his versatility by stuffing the stat sheet. In 33 minutes, Joseph scored 10 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 8 assists.

As San Antonio continues it's playoff quest, Joseph will likely be looked upon for 10-15 solid minutes each game. Joseph's fiery-style can potentially provide the Spurs with a much needed spark off the bench, and perhaps turn the tide in future playoff contests as well.

By giving the 6'3'', 185 pound guard ample time to develop his game courtesy of numerous trips the to Spurs' NBADL affiliate, San Antonio has created themselves a serviceable backcourt option. Joseph is a product of the Spurs' relentless effort to develop talent under their franchise umbrella, and will prove his worth to the organization this postseason.

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