Projected Opening Day Starting Five:
Point Guard: Kevin Anderson
Shooting Guard: Anthony Beane
Small Forward: Patrico Garino
Power Forward: Jarell Eddie
Center: Livio Jean-Charles
How Did They Do Last Year?
The Spurs finished the D-League season with a record of 30-20, good for first in the Southwest division, second in the Western conference. Led by a core of Kiefer Sykes, Deshaun Thomas, Cady Lalanne, Bryce Cotton and returning players Jarell Eddie and Demetri McCamey; Austin came up just short in the playoffs against the Los Angeles D-Fenders. The team also saw action from notable San Antonio players Boban Marjanovic and Ray McCallum.
How Will They Do This Year?
If there is one thing I have learned in my time covering basketball, it is to never count the Spurs out. It is an organization that is run unlike any other, and set the bar for both player development and consistency. Expect this to trickle down to the D-League as well. Even though they only have two returning players, they are loaded with talent.
Anthony Beane, who was acquired on a trade following the draft, is an intriguing talent out of Southern Illinois as a scorer. Kevin Anderson was taken in the draft and has enjoyed a successful career overseas as a point guard. Other players to watch will be the San Antonio affiliates of Ryan Arcidiacono, Patricio Garino, and Livio Jean-Charles. Arcidiacono rose to fame during his NCAA title run with Villanova, while Garino and Jean-Charles are players that should also make a gigantic impact in Austin this season.
Who Is Most Likely Called Up?
This team is loaded with interesting talent, but the player that is most likely called up is Patricio Garino. A rookie out of George Washington, Garino went undrafted but was soon scooped up by San Antonio. Standing at 6’7” with a 6’10” wingspan, Garino is known as a lockdown defender. He has played with the Argentinian National team and his senior year he really stepped up his production from three point range.
According to DraftExpress, Garino shot 43 percent on five perimeter attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted as a senior. That’s an improvement over his junior season where he shot just 29 percent on two attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He is incredibly savvy, has a good shot selection, and could grow into a good 3&D type player. He reminds me of Luis Montero, the Community College project the Portland Trail Blazers took on a couple years ago, but much further along and developed. If he finds his shot in Austin, imagine him to get a call up sooner than later.
Who Is Most Likely Assigned?
San Antonio has never been shy about using the D-League, and I’ll use this as a platform to casually remind you that they found Jonathan Simmons at an open tryout in Austin; so expect to see several players assigned this season. Bryn Forbes, the undrafted rookie out of Michigan State, is one player that can benefit from some time in Austin.
The combo guard has seen the floor sparingly for San Antonio so far, but that was to be expected. He is a shooter, so he could always benefit from getting up shots in the D-League and growing his confidence. In Austin, he could get quality minutes to make mistakes and figure out his defensive rotations and nuances in the Spurs’ complex system.
Don’t Sleep On Anthony Beane
While researching the roster for this article, I couldn't help but be floored when coming across Anthony Beane’s highlight reel. While it is a highlight reel and only accentuates the good parts of his game while eliminating the bad, it was still impressive. He is a pure scorer, in that he never averaged more than 1.78 assists in his four years at Southern Illinois and averaged over 19 points per game. He looks like a poor man’s Jamal Crawford, someone that could be instant offense at any moment.
It remains to be seen how he performs defensively due to a lack of information, but if he can become a good defender and do all he does on offense, he stands to really benefit from his time in the D-League. He is the son of a coach, has a wonderful reputation, and is a hard worker. If he gets the minutes, he could turn some heads in Austin.