How did the Spurs do last season?
Much like their NBA counterparts, the Austin Spurs were one of the more efficient offenses in the entire league and rode that all the way to a 32-18 record (good for first place in the Southwest Division) and an appearance in the NBA D-League Semifinals. Bryce Cotton, Jonathan Simmons and first-round pick Kyle Anderson were the clear standouts and head coach Ken McDonald utilized them to the best of their abilities. They took care of the ball very well and made us of all of their possessions, which should continue going forward.
How good can they be?
While they were great last year, they may be even more loaded this upcoming season. With Cotton, Simmons and Orlando Johnson returning, they'll bring back a good portion of their scoring load, but they'll also be joined by Keifer Sykes, Cady Lalanne, Jarell Eddie and Deshaun Thomas. A team with that amount of talent would be a lock for the playoffs just based on their abilities, but with McDonald at the helm this should be one of the more serious contenders for a D-League Championship.
Most likely call-up?
With Jonathan Simmons recently being sent down after making the NBA club out of the preseason it would probably be a bit of a cop-out to choose him, so I will take a bit of a swerve and choose former U-Mass big man Cady Lalanne. Lalanne became known in college for his relentless effort and energy, which would be a great fit on a high-character team like that of San Antonio. His game is raw on the offensive end and at 23 years old, he may not have much upside there but he could have value to the team on defense. He was a formidable shot blocker throughout college and could defend on the perimeter if necessary. His versatility on defense, as well as his rebounding ability could gain him a spot at the end of the bench should any injuries occur.
Most intriguing potential assignee?
Aside from Kyle Anderson, the only player likely to get sent down to Austin did just a few days ago. Jonathan Simmons will be back up with the Spurs at some point this season, but for the time being he'll continue to dominate the D-League like he did last year. He was an efficient shooter and could pitch in on the defensive glass and it is clear that he was ready for the next level. San Antonio evidently thought that as well with signing him out of the preseason, but there's just not much room for him on the roster as we speak. The Spurs front office may have uncovered yet another diamond in the rough with Simmons, and it's just a matter of time before he gets to display that at the next level. For now, however, Austin will be glad to have him.
Will Jarell Eddie get a longer look at the next level?
After going un-drafted last year, Eddie made it a point to establish himself as being an NBA-caliber player throughout the course of the season. He did just that, shooting 45% from deep and winning the Three-Point Contest during D-League All-Star Weekend. Though he had a ten-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks, he wasn't able to stick with the team beyond that.
Going into this season, Eddie is out to prove the same and once again is off to a great start. He shot 46% from deep during the Summer League and although he wasn't able to secure an NBA contract, it's safe to say that there will be many eyes on him this year. With the NBA's shift towards spacing and up-tempo play, Eddie would be the perfect player that's in need of a shooter who doesn't need many touches to impact a game. As a two-time All-Academic player in college, Eddie has a great head on his shoulders and that, along with his ability to shoot the lights out, should make him an appealing prospect at the NBA level. For the meantime, he could work on his ball-handling and his ability to get to the rim.