Sport Get to know the young players who could make an impact for the San Antonio Spurs
How Nuno Espirito Santo can help Spurs end poor run against Chelsea
As the teams prepare to meet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, here is how Nuno Espirito Santo can help Tottenham end their barren winless run against the European champions.Since 2019, the north London side have slid from being Champions League finalists and regulars in the competition to scrapping for qualification into UEFA's new tertiary tournament, the Europa Conference League.
The San Antonio Spurs are well past the days of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They're past the days of Kawhi Leonard, and even past the days of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, too.
After their 22-year streak came to an end in 2020, the Spurs have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in the franchise's 53-year history.
As they're set to enter a rebuilding stage with a new core of young players, the casual fan may be surprised to see so many unfamiliar faces in a typically familar uniform.
While young players like Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV have been making a name for themselves over the past few years, there's a crop of other young players who will likely see significant minutes this season.
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Spurs opened the season with three straight league wins but have already lost in the Europa Conference League to Pacos de Ferreira, while they were hammered 3-0 at Crystal Palace last Saturday. Nuno Espirito Santo's side barely improved on Thursday night when they were denied three points in their group stage opener following a 2-2 draw at Rennes.
Alongside newly acquired veterans like Thaddeus Young, Doug McDermott and Al-Farouq Aminu, a known name in Zach Collins and the return of Bryn Forbes, take a look at some Spurs' players to entering the 2021-22 season.
It would be disrespectful to say that Johnson is an unknown after the solid sophomore season he had last year, but he should be poised for a true breakout season in Year 3. As the No. 29 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Spurs found a diamond in the rough in Johnson, a versatile and athletic forward out of the University of Kentucky.
He didn't see much playing time as a rookie, but he worked his way into a spot in the Spurs' starting five a season ago and made the most of his opportunity. Johnson averaged 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, doing a little bit of everything for San Antonio on both ends of the floor.
Spurs fans' group requests meeting with club's board
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) has requested a meeting with the club's board to discuss its "short and long-term strategic vision".Spurs have lost three consecutive Premier League games to London rivals Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal after their protracted search for a new manager ended with the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo in June.
His signature performance came in the form of a 23-point, 21-rebound double-double against the Cleveland Cavaliers, impressively ripping down 11 offensive boards. He recorded eight double-doubles last season and recorded over 20 points in a game nine times.
After catching an invite to play for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, Johnson spent invaluable time with a group of the best players in the world, earning a Gold medal in the process. He'll be a mainstay in the Spurs' core for the foreseeable future.
Vassell was in a bit of a bind for playing time during his rookie season, only playing 17.0 minutes per game. The 21-year-old Florida State product has high upside potential, though, as a 6-foot-5 sharpshooting wing with a lengthy 6-foot-10 wingspan.
He had a handful of promising games last season, including an 18-point game where he knocked down four 3s to go with two blocks against the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns. He had nine games with multiple steals and while he shot 34.7 percent from 3, he only attempted 2.4 3s per game, so he didn't have much opportunity to get into a rhythm.
NBA: Spurs return: Ginobili makes it like Dirk
Spurs legend Manu Ginobili returns to his former team. That announced the franchise in San Antonio on Friday. The 44-year-old is converting to the footsteps of Dirk Nowitzki. © Provided by Spox Manu Ginobili returns to the San Antonio Spurs. Ginobili, who had won four titles in 16 years, comes back to the Spurs as a consultant. He will work according to ESPN and work off the court with the young Spurs players.
Playing time should be more available this season, so look for Vassell to breakout out of his shell a little bit more.
Jones was another player who didn't play much with the Spurs last season, but they may use him more as a reserve guard this season. The former ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year out of Duke started showing flashes of potential at Summer League in August, averaging 22.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3.
There are little concerns about his ability to defend or playmake, but the growth of his perimeter shooting and scoring could determine the consistency of his playing time moving forward.
Landale is well known overseas, but he'll be a rookie in the NBA this upcoming season. The Australian forward had a very decorated 2021, leading Melbourne United to an NBL title while taking home Grand Final MVP honours. He then starred for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics, helping Australia win its first-ever Olympic medal when they took home Bronze at the tournament.
Arsenal vs Tottenham: Styles and form analysed
Arsenal host Tottenham at the Emirates live on Sky Sports this Sunday - but how do the teams' current styles and form fare ahead of the blockbuster clash? Spurs kicked off the campaign with three straight wins and clean sheets, culminating in new boss Nuno Espirito Santo collecting the Manager of the Month award. However, back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Crystal Palace and Chelsea have followed, with disappointing performances to compound the results.
Landale averaged 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from 3 for Melbourne United last season. He went on to average 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Boomers at the Olympics, including an efficient 14-point game (6-8 FG) in the Bronze Medal match against Slovenia.
His productive 2021 campaign landed him a two-year deal with the Spurs, and the 25-year-old forward should see plenty of opportunity to prove he belongs in the NBA.
Primo was one of the most surprising picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, going well above any projections when the Spurs selected him with the No. 12 overall pick. The 18-year-old – who doesn't even turn 19 until Christmas Eve – was the youngest player in the draft, and as a 6-foot-6 guard, it's easy to see the potential the San Antonio Spurs see in him.
Primo's plus-size gives him an intriguing edge on the defensive end, using his long arms to disrupt ball handlers and passing lanes. He's known for his spot-up perimeter shooting because that was primarily his role during his one season at Alabama, but he showcased his progression as a shot creator during the NBA combine and Summer League, getting to his spots off the dribble and using his height to his advantage when attacking the basket.
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The Gunners have already rejected an opening £25m offer from the Midlands side and insisted their youngster is not for sale this summer, but that has not deterred Dean Smith and Co.Villa returned with a second bid to test the Gunners' resolve but have been swiftly rebuffed once again.
The Canadian guard may be a few years away from truly contributing to the Spurs, but with their highly-renowned player development program, it will be interesting to see what Primo turns in to.
Wieskamp was a beneficiary of a stellar NBA Combine, shooting the lights out in front of scouts and executives. The upperclassmen out of Iowa drew Duncan Robinson comparisons throughout the 2021 NBA Draft process as a 6-foot-6 marksmen who shot 41.2 percent from 3 over three college seasons, including his final junior season where he buried 46.2 percent of his 5.1 3-point attempts per game.
The Spurs elected to take Wieskamp with the No. 41 overall pick in the draft, adding a much-needed perimeter shooter to a team that finished dead-last in 3-pointers made per game last season, and have finished in the bottom five of that category in each of the last four seasons.
Wieskamp is only on a two-way contract, so you might not see too much of him this season, but he'll be a name to monitor for the future.
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Spurs to OVERTAKE Arsenal in UEFA rankings for first time since 1992 .
Yet another measure of whether north London is red or white has fallen in Tottenham's favour, as they prepare to overtake Arsenal in the UEFA rankings. The imploding Gunners were bottom of the Premier League before edging Norwich 1-0 on Saturday, having failed to qualify for European competition last season in their worst league campaign this century. Jose Mourinho left Spurs in a mess last term and they only managed seventh, which was still enough to qualify for the brand new Europa Conference League.