Until Spurs pick them up in the next draft, Devin Fassel will be their highest pick since Tim Duncan. This little piece of trivia is meaningless, but it inevitably brought with it some stress. Vasil was never seen as a savior, but he was expected to be a major piece of the puzzle for San Antonio for years to come.
Last season, he showed he had what it takes to get there. Despite not emerging as a star, the sophomore winger made enough progress to quell vociferous criticism about his casting and gain many fans. Good Vassil, that’s clear. What remains to be determined is exactly how good it could be.
Attributes, expected role and stats
Devin Vassell is a 6’5″ winger who entered his sophomore season with many eyes on him after a uneventful first year in the league.
He was expected to get a bigger role in his second season, initially as a two-way presence off the bench, joining the winger with Lonnie Walker IV.
In 71 games, he averaged 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 27.3 minutes per game.
Fasil had a good start to the season. In his first 17 games, he shot all three very well and seemed to be adjusting seamlessly to a major role as one of the key bench players. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury sidelined him for five games in late November, and he struggled on his return, as his outside shot – his biggest tool to aid in attack – left him for a while. Another brief absence in January didn’t help him recover a two-stroke on the outside, but he was doing enough in defense and inside the arc to remain a staple for the second unit. His ability to strike from mid-range when chasing him from the three-point line in particular mitigated his intermittent struggles as captain, while his team’s defense allowed him to be an added advantage even when there were no head-to-heads. method.
Vasyl’s good work as a sixth man earned him the starting point that Derek White’s trade cleared. In the new role, Vasyl continued to be a good defender and a strong outside shooter and thrived in the transition and could put the ball on the ground at times, even if the creation of the shot didn’t come naturally to him. He was simply a very useful player who could space out the floor and handle switches better than his predecessor due to his superior size. There weren’t a lot of moments (outside of game play) where Vasil seemed like a future transfer option, and his solo defense didn’t take the leap forward that was expected, but in his first season he showed big minute player Vasyl that at least he’d be a reliable spinning bit For a long time.
Season grade: A-
Vasyl needed to show his ability to produce at a high level after a mediocre rookie season, and he did just that. There weren’t many flashes of potential greatness in his sophomore campaign, but considering he’s still only 21 and has already shown his ability to be a two-way force even as a rookie, it’s been a successful year for him. There have been some moments of inconsistency as a shooting captain which would be more worrisome under different circumstances, but his young age and the fickle nature of Spurs’ performances in general could explain this. Likewise, Vasyl has yet to turn into the defensive beast his off-ball instincts and physical gadgets suggest, but that leap is difficult to make for a team that has struggled in this regard. Overall, this was not a perfect year for Vasyl but it was a good year in which he showed the ability to adapt.
Vasyl will be entering the third year of his junior contract and presumably the current starter for Spurs, which should provide him with enough continuity to build on his good 2021/22 campaign. It’s a big season for Vasil, as he will be eligible for an extension in the summer of 2023.
There are two big questions that still need to be answered. The first is simple and revolves around the position that will be asked to play in the future. If Spurs go with a more conventional force forward alongside two wingers, Vasyl will likely remain in the shooting range for the foreseeable future, as long as he starts, and will only be required to move from time to time from place to junior striker. If they instead decide to embrace a small, completely centerless ball, Vasyl may sometimes be asked to play alongside smaller players on the periphery and the attacking guard force, as he did last season off the bench. Neither option should be dismissed out of hand, but if the idea is to maximize Vassell, having him on the wing alongside larger players would probably be smart, given his height is an asset there and his relatively slim frame isn’t an issue.
The second question is arguably more important as it relates to its possibilities. Vasyl has already shown that he can be a strong player, but could he be an elite at either end, or at least good at both? Defensively he has the tools, but his offensive ceiling is still unclear. He has spoken of wanting to be more of a 3D winger, but his ability to handle the inappropriate ball and lack of a lethal first move could make it difficult for him to evolve into the Paul George type when attacking. Khris Middleton appears to be a more achievable target, as Vasyl already has a reliable mid-range pull-up that he can use after a dribble or two. If he can extend his range in this type of shot to the three-point line, he may get more space to lead, as the defense will have to bring him closer. It may be a while before Vassell can really innovate for himself, not to mention others, at a high rate, but it would be great if he at least shows progress on the field next season.
With a more specific role and more freedom to attack, Vasil can certainly take a leap. Even if he doesn’t become the top scorer anytime soon, achieving a more consistent three-point shot from across the floor – he shot much better off the right side last year – and continuing to develop on the defensive end would be enough to keep the fan base excited in his third year. .
Vasil was considered a safe choice when he was drafted, and he proved to have the high floor everyone expected. The question now is how high his ceiling will be, but figuring out that could take some time and patience, which Spurs should fortunately have to rebuild.
Keita Pets Diop
Looney Walker IV