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Spurs Rookies Embracing NBA Summer League Experience

The start of the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League nears and the Spurs' rookies are excited about the opportunity.

The San Antonio Spurs soon will get their first look at the prospects they brought into their organization from the 2022 NBA Draft. The Las Vegas Summer League will offer the first chance to do so. Their first game will tip off on July 8 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With three rookies selected using first-round picks, the Spurs will have one of the more exciting teams to pay attention to in the event. The players themselves have a lot to look forward to as well. 

The rookies will be experiencing their first NBA-like environment against their peers from their draft class. It's also a chance to prove themselves before beginning the 2022-23 season. 

“It’s the same every year (with the rookies),” Spurs assistant Mitch Johnson said, who will be the head coach of the summer league team for a second consecutive year. “It’s enthusiasm. It’s excitement. These kids want to prove whether they should be at this level or want to justify why they were drafted.”

While it still remains to be seen if No. 9 overall pick, Jeremy Sochan, will be available to play after testing positive for COVID-19, it will still be an opportunity for Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley to get their first feel for NBA-like basketball. 

“I feel like my game rises when I am competing,” Branham said. “I always watched summer league on TV, and now playing in it is going to be fun. I am super excited.”

Given the Spurs are in the midst of a rebuild, the progress displayed by their young players will be important to monitor. The event is about player development. Seeing positive flashes from rookies is the goal in addition to recent draft picks like Joshua Primo showing improvement in their weaknesses. 

The Spurs will play at least four games in Vegas, with a chance to qualify for the start of tournament play on Saturday, July 16.

Here's the team's current schedule:

Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Friday, July 8 at 4 p.m. C.T at the Cox Pavilion

Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors - Sunday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. C.T. at the Thomas & Mack Center

Spurs vs. Houston Rockets - Monday, July 11 at 6 p.m. C.T. at the Thomas & Mack Center

Spurs vs. Atlanta Hawks - Thursday, July 14 at 2 p.m. C.T at the Cox Pavilion


You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.

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