3 Questions the San Antonio Spurs must answer after the all-star break
The San Antonio Spurs season is set to resume after a much-needed all-star break. The team entered the nine-day break with a 14-game losing streak hanging over their heads, and they could use that time to regroup. The Spurs have 23 remaining games, and while they are far from playoff contention, they could look to string together some wins.
That might be detrimental to their lottery odds, but losing can create bad habits and demoralize a young team, which the Spurs certainly are. In order to get the team back on the right track this season is one thing, but what about going forward? With that in mind, here are three questions the Spurs must answer following the All-Star break.
Is Malaki Branham’s recent play the tip of the iceberg?
After a shaky start to the season, Malaki Branham, one of the team’s three teenage first-round selections in 2022, has come on strong of late. In eight February games, he’s averaging 18.1 points while shooting 41.3 percent on 5.8 three-pointers per game. Taking advantage of injuries and recent trades, Branham has seen additional playing time and has played increasingly well leading up to the All-Star break.
Some of that is by design, with the Spurs giving him more opportunities and letting him play with the ball more. Thus far, he’s proven capable of utilizing ball screens to create for himself and knocking down spot-up threes that are created by others. Additionally, he’s shown himself to be a skilled cutter, racking up easy points whenever he’s guarded by ball-watchers.
That hints that he has a good feel for the game, and his offensive skillset is fairly impressive for a 19-year-old. This recent development is obviously great for the Spurs, who surprised many when they opted to keep all three of their draft picks, but only Jeremy Sochan was viewed as a safe bet. If Branham works out, which it looks like he very well could, then that strategy will be a big success.
It would give the Spurs a wealth of options on the perimeter, including Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson, without even including the upcoming draft. Of course, this assumes that this stretch isn’t just a young player putting up big numbers late in the season on a terrible team, which happens a lot at this point every year.