There were a lot of Canadian kids in this go around in the annual NBA Summer League. A total of seven to be exact, the most Canucks yet. But of these seven, two guys really stood out as much for their performances as well as the buzz they generated. Those two were Kris Joseph and Cory Joseph. Both players are signed to teams now but as we all know that doesn't guarantee a roster spot. Can Ball Ray takes a brief look at what their performances could bode for them come time for the season ...
After a fun filled two weeks of Summer League action, the dust has finally settled on what was the preeminent pre, pre season showcase of potential NBA talent. And among them were a few Canadian kids looking to make the team. Now these Canadian kids are all NBA quality kids and some have really helped themselves a whole lot in their Summer League stints but of the two that were playing in the circuit, the two that really made a case for themselves sticking with the big club were cousins Kris Joseph and Cory Joseph.
Cory Joseph played some good ball in Las Vegas this last week and a half. In fact, he played so well he was named a Summer League All Star if you recall just a few days ago. This is a great sign for Cory. Having played a year in the D-League with time in the Spurs lineup, the Vegas was really a place for him to show that he's gained skills and can play better ball and he's done just that.
The situation Cory is looking at in the Spurs lineup for this season is that starting five fixture Tony Parker is still gonna start but there is a possible log jam in the backcourt. As of right now, the back up to Parker looks to be Patty Mills. Manu Ginobili can handle the ball some so he could conceivably spend time there on occasion. That leaves Cory and recent Draftee Nando De Colo. De Colo is more a shooting guard than point but he's capable of playing the one (I've been lead to believe though I've only seen him playing with France along with Tony Parker and others who would start at the PG before him) but his size and ability to handle the ball is what could give him the edge, for now. Cory is an NBA level defender, I think, and that is a skill that Coach Pop definitely values. I'm hoping that this five game performance, and any improvement over the next few months, means that Joseph will get the benefit of the doubt come tree shaking elimination time for the roster.
Kris Joseph, on the other hand, played an excellent set in both the Orlando and Vegas Summer Leagues for the Celtics. Though he wasn't named an All Star like his cousin he did play well enough to turn heads and even garnered the "Better than advertised" quote from Doc Rivers himself. He didn't have quite the same turnout as Cory but he did play well. In his ten games over the two sessions in Orlando and Vegas, he averaged 8.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 0.9 steals in about 21 minutes per game (I had to do the math myself). His shooting numbers weren't great and he was inconsistent but overall not bad I'd say for a second round pick who had hyper extended his knee.
His situation, like that of Cory, is about the log jam at his position also. Paul Pierce will obviously start which means that the rest of the minutes will be dolled out between the back ups. We can suppose that this role will possibly be filled by Jeff Green (assuming he's a Celtic of course), newly signed Courtney Lee and Joseph. Lee will likely swing between the SG and SF spots off the bench and that could mean that Joseph still has a hope of playing, though it may be very dim right now, despite the comments Doc made. (I had entertained the idea of Pierce moving to the two occasionally possibly freeing up playing time for Kris but my man Duane shot that down real quick since P-Double would be a liability on D.)
Regardless of their individual situations on their respective teams, I think both players showed some great game in the Summer League sessions. Both definitely showed that they could play at the NBA level, at least at the NBA Summer League level, and that if given the chance they could possibly push for some playing time on their big clubs. Both players, I think, are sitting possibly 60-40 on whether they make the opening night roster come October and with transactions and other assorted surprises still possible that could change in a heartbeat either way. Regardless, I think that these guys gave a good showing and now it'll be up to them to get more work in between now and training camp.
** Can Ball Ray will revisit the situation for both these players before the NBA season begins to compare the outcomes **