The San Antonio Spurs have an open roster spot.
The Spurs made a surprising roster move on Tuesday evening, waiving guard Nicolas Laprovittola. Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News tweeted that the reason that the team released Laprovittola was to maintain roster flexibility.
Laprovittola was in his first season with the Spurs after spending the last half of the 2015-16 season with Spanish club Estudiantes. The 26-year old Argentinian point guard averaged 3.3 points along with 1.8 assists while shooting 37 percent from the three-point line in 18 appearances. He made three starts and averaged nearly 10 minutes a contest.
Laprovittola played well when he played over 10 minutes in a game, which occurred six times. He reached double-figures twice with his best game coming against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 5, where he tallied 11 points, on 4-of-5 shooting, and doled out five assists. Laprovittola reportedly had trouble adapting to the NBA game.
It is unknown where Laprovittola will end up in the immediate future. Obviously, he could sign with a D-League team and wait to see if he gets a call when someone gets hurt. However, the likely bet is that he goes back oversees and possibly try to hook up with a NBA team next summer.
Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News tweeted that part of the reason the Spurs decided to release Laprovittola was due to the development of first round pick Dejounte Murray.
Nico Laprovittola was always the placeholder until Spurs trusted Dejounte Murray to be the 3rd PG. Apparently that time is now.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) December 27, 2016
Murray, the No. 28 overall selection in this year’s draft, has seen an increase of playing time lately. He has appeared in four straight games and has seen a total of 31 minutes during that span, including a season-high 20 minutes of action against the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 23. Against the Blazers, the six-foot-five point guard tallied nine points, on 4-of-8 shooting, and three rebounds along with an assist though he did also turn the ball over three times. He has tallied 23 of his 37 points the past three games and is averaging 2.5 points in 5.3 minutes of action over 15 games.
“With Dejounte, it’s about minutes,” head coach Gregg Popovich told Michael C. Wright of ESPN. “The more minutes he gets, the better. He’ll still play some minutes in the D-League. I don’t think it’ll do him much good just to sit on our bench the whole time. He needs to get repetitions in the pick-and-roll, make decisions on a fast break, all that sort of thing. He’ll still do double-duty in a sense. But I just think his potential is off the charts because he is so willing, he’s so young, and he’s got so many physical attributes. We just need to work on his skills and stick with him.”
San Antonio now has 14 players, meaning that they can add a player to the roster without making a corresponding move. The Spurs are laden with 10 guys capable playing either one, two or three. They have seven players that can play in the frontcourt though only five players are natural power forwards or centers — Davis Bertans, David Lee, Pau Gasol, Dwyane Dedmond, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Anderson are capable of playing the four.
The Spurs are excellent on defense but could use another scorer and/or shooter as well someone who can rebound from the power forward position. No move is imminent so they have plenty of time to make a decision.
San Antonio ran its record to 26-6 with a 119-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday as Aldridge led six players in double figures with 27, on 10-of-12 shooting. Tony Parker added 20 points while Gasol posted his seventh double-double with 16 points and 10 caroms. Lee (12), Manu Ginobili (12), and Danny Green (11) were the others in double figures. Anderson, starting in place of Leonard (stomach ailment), didn’t score but led the team with five assists and had four assists. It marked the fourth time in his career that Leonard missed a game due to a stomach ailment.
The Spurs have won three straight and eight of 10. The Spurs, 15th in the league with 105.0 points, have topped the century mark in nine straight games. They are a league-best 16-2 on the road and have the third best scoring defense at 97.9 points a contest.
[Featured Image by Darren Abate/AP Images]