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Spurs Ready to Maximize Isaiah Roby's Versatility

Isaiah Roby was a standout for the San Antonio Spurs during training camp. Is he primed for a major 2022-23 season?

During an offseason of change, the San Antonio Spurs acquired Isaiah Roby by claiming him on waivers. The Oklahoma City Thunder opted to move on before his $1.9 million salary became full-guaranteed. 

Roby earned consistent playing time over each of his last two seasons with the Thunder after appearing in just three games in 2019-20. He averaged 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 22.4 minutes per game during these 106 games. 

Roby has impressed the Spurs during training camp. His versatility at 6-foot-8 has stood out. He has a combination of size, athleticism, and coordination that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich quickly noticed.

"He is really more skilled than I was expecting, and he’s a little bigger than I expected," Popovich said. "He moves well, really well for his size, and he has good athleticism - coordinated athleticism. He handles himself really well."

The 6-foot-8 Roby played almost as many minutes at center as he did at power forward last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The experience has made him confidence in his abilities to guard all five positions. 

"I think I can guard all five positions on the court," Roby said. "In Oklahoma City, we ran a small ball five a lot and I was the primary at the five, but I think here being able to play alongside Jakob and Zach will be awesome for my game and the team."

Roby sees his ideal position is probably playing the power forward position. He can utilize his switching ability, take advantage of mismatches, and push the ball on the break.

“Probably 4, I think a switching 4 who can switch onto all different types of guards defensively, and offensively exploit mismatches and push the ball up the break when I get a rebound,” Roby said.

The Spurs are set to play a style of basketball this season that Roby feels is conducive to his strengths. He will have the green light to attack on the break after a rebound in grab-and-go situations, which he sees as an advantage. 

"Offensively, they're giving the free rein to pretty much, everybody can grab the rebound and push the break, which is awesome, because it'll be good for causing mismatches on defense and I'm looking forward to playing a versatile style of basketball," Roby said. 

There is a lot of versatility the Spurs have at the four after claiming Roby on waivers and drafting Jeremy Sochan with the No. 9 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. 

You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth

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