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Old 07-13-13, 08:45 AM
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Location: Clovis, NM
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Jeff McDonald, Staff Writer

Here are three other takeaways from the Spurs’ Summer League-opening victory ….

* Second-rounder Deshaun Thomas has never had trouble scoring the ball. He was the leading scorer in the Big Ten last season at Ohio State after all. After missing his first three shots in his inaugural game with the Spurs on Friday, Thomas finished with 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting. “It’s what we’ve seen from him in practice and what he’s done his whole life,” Udoka said. “He has a knack for scoring in a lot of different ways.”
A natural power forward, Thomas will have to adjust defensively to play small forward at the NBA level. He’s never had to chase wing players around the perimeter before and remains a work in progress in that regard.

* As promised, Nando De Colo played mostly off the ball Friday, and produced a mix bag. He finished with 12 points, including a key jumper late in the fourth quarter, but was also 4 of 12 from the field and committed three turnovers. Like Thomas, De Colo also struggled at times to adjust defensively to guarding a different kind of player — bigger shooting guards and opposed to smaller point guards. He ended with five fouls because of it.

* The third leg of the Spurs’ summertime Big Three, big man Aron Baynes, was active if inconsistent. He had five points, including a nifty left-handed hook off a feed from Ryan Richards, and fought for a team-high eight rebounds. Baynes also turned in a demonstrative block of Charlotte’s Abdul Gaddy in the second half.

* Thomas’ size (6-foot-7) is legit, and although he may fill an immediate need as a backup to small forward Kawhi Leonard, the No. 58 overall pick still might be hard-pressed to make a roster that already has 14 players committed for next season.

*Another post player project, Ryan Richards, appears to have added bulk since his foray with the Summer Spurs last July. He’s listed at 6-foot-11 and 230 pounds now. Still, Richards didn’t do much with his nearly 10 minutes of playing time, scoring two points (1 for 5) and collecting a single rebound.
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