The Summer League performances by Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons have been a strong enough indication that they’re developing nicely, which might mean it’s time for the two young players to start getting a more meaningful role on the San Antonio Spurs.
Anderson, a late first round pick in 2014, hasn’t done much in his two seasons with the Spurs. After only 33 games his rookie year, he did get a boost to 78 games and six more minutes a night, averaging 4.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists, also shooting a bit better from beyond the arc (up to 32.4%). A forward on most of his minutes for the Spurs, he played a playmaker role in college, and with the unclear point guard situation in San Antonio, he might get more opportunities to make decisions on offense.
Simmons had a forgettable rookie campaign, with some D-League time as well. He played 55 games, averaging 6 points and 1.7 rebounds, which is enough for Gregg Popovich to think he has potential to do more in the backcourt. The former University of Houston shooting guard also hit 38.4% of his attempts from beyond the arc, playing 14.8 minutes a night. Like Anderson, he’s been doing well in the Summer League, which is often a way for sophomore NBA players to show how much they’ve advances in the past 12 months.
Becky Hammon, the Spurs assistant coach and Summer League team HC, thinks the two of them (and especially Anderson) are benefiting a great deal from their Summer League minutes.
This is a great experience for them. They get out on the court, and they’re going against quality competition in an organized setting. It’s not like you’re just playing pickup in the summer time. This is a great setting for them to be in situations like this. That’s how you build confidence in them, and that’s how coaches get confidence in them, too. If they see that putting Kyle in as a decision maker at the end of the game is a good option for us… there’s different things that we’re always trying to pick up, learn on and also stretch them mentally, and get them better as well as work on their individual game.