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Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 20.

Jackson led the Pistons to a 2-1 week, averaging 29.3 points (first in the conference), 6.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists (second in the conference). He scored 30 or more points in two of the three games and had 23 points in the third. On Dec. 18, Jackson scored 13 of Detroit’s 20 points in the fourth and final overtime period to lead the Pistons to a 147-144 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Leonard led San Antonio to a 3-0 record behind averages of 22.7 points (eighth in the conference), 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals. He shot 56.4 percent from the field and scored 22 or more points in two games. On Dec. 16, Leonard made four three-pointers on his way to 27 points and added four assists, four steals and three rebounds in a 114-95 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

The San Antonio Spurs are 22-5 this season — the second best record in the legaue behind the 25-1 Warriors. LaMarcus Aldridge has been as good an addition to the Spurs as expected. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

LaMarcus Aldridge fitting in well with Spurs

The Los Angeles Clippers face the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), their first meeting since Chris Paul’s game-winning shot with one second left in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series in the spring. It is the latest game-winning field goal in a Game 7 in NBA history.

LaMarcus Aldridge, probably the biggest offseason acquisition by the Spurs, has ratcheted up his production in his last 13 games, since he came back after a two-game absence due to an ankle sprain. Since his return, Aldridge has been averaging more points and shooting a higher percentage while playing fewer minutes…

Aldridge is starting to make open jumpers. On shots farther than 10 feet from the basket, Aldridge is making 47 percent of his open jumpers in the last 13 games, compared with 37 percent in the first 12 games (Source: NBA SportsVU Player Tracking Data). Open shots are defined as shots in which the defender was more than 4 feet from the shooter at the time of the shot.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is always worth listening to — at least when he’s actually willing to talk and answer a question in straightforward fashion. Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting Popovich’s views on Lakers great Kobe Bryant’s announcement that he will wrap up his career at season’s end:

Coach Gregg Popovich said he wasn’t surprised when Kobe Bryant announced this would be his final season, though Popovich added that the league will definitely be taking a hit.

“It will be a great personality gone,” Popovich said Friday before the Lakers played the Spurs. “He’s an iconic figure, and when those kind of guys stop playing, the league misses them. You miss them.”

Popovich said Bryant’s consistent intensity was a rarity.

“There aren’t too many people who understand how you bring it, night after night after night, for all those years at that level, and he’s one of the few guys who did that,” Popovich said.

Raptors step up and beat Spurs

Wednesday night in Toronto the Raptors defended home court and beat the San Antonio Spurs 97-94. It was only the Spurs’ 5th loss of the season. In the win, DeMar DeRozan shot 10-15 for 28 points and six assists, while Kyle Lowry had 19 points and eight assists. Here’s the Toronto Star reporting:

It’s a dangerous game but a fun one, watching a team rise to the level of good opposition and sink to the level of bad.

It can’t be a lot of fun when they lose to supposedly inferior opposition but when it goes the other way, it can be an awfully good for their souls.

The Raptors, who typify that up-and-down existence like few teams in the NBA, did it again Wednesday, upsetting the San Antonio Spurs 97-94 at the Air Canada Centre, battling injuries and foul trouble with a patchwork rotation for a well-deserved wire-to-wire victory.

It was a gut-check win for the Raptors, now 14-9, against the 18-5 Spurs, who had won nine of 10 coming into the game.

It was sealed with fewer than 10 seconds left when DeMar DeRozan, capping perhaps his best game of the season, scooped up an offensive rebound of a Kyle Lowry miss and Toronto ahead by just three.

Defense stays strong for Spurs

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reminding everyone that the Spurs’ defense is still a force to be reckoned with:

The Spurs’ 91-80 win over the Nuggets on Friday night was the club’s latest in a string of outstanding defensive efforts.

But this one was even more impressive than the others because it came while Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were home in San Antonio resting.

It seems no matter who is or isn’t in the lineup, there is one constant with the Spurs: They play great defense.

“It’s what we rely on,” Boris Diaw said in the visitor’s locker room at the Pepsi Center after the Spurs limited the Nuggets to 40.3 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers that led to 15 points.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have assigned forward Jonathon Simmons to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League.

Simmons, 6-6/195, was signed by San Antonio on July 22, 2015, after spending the past two seasons with the Austin Spurs. The Texas native made the team after attending an open tryout in Austin in 2013. Last season Simmons was named to the NBA D-League All-Defensive Third Team while appearing in all 50 games, averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.00 steals in 33.8 minutes. Simmons shot .494 (277-561) from the field, .398 (51-128) from three-point range and .750 (153-204) from the charity stripe.

During his two years with Austin, Simmons appeared in a total of 94 games, averaging 12.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.00 blocks in 28.8 minutes while shooting .506 (446-882) from the field, .352 (76-216) from beyond the arc and .736 (22-303) from the foul line.

Simmons has not appeared in a game with San Antonio this season.

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reporting on Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who through five games this season is averaging 14.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per outing on his new squad:

LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Blazers coming soon

The Spurs have to face Charlotte tonight at the AT&T Center and Sacramento on the road Monday, but Wednesday’s must-see game in Portland – LaMarcus Aldridge’s homecoming – is already on their minds.

Aldridge played nine seasons for the Trail Blazers before signing in free agency this summer with the Spurs, an acquisition that has the potential to add more hardware to the team’s already crowded trophy case. Although many fans in Portland likely understand the Texas-ex’s desire to win a championship and appreciate his All-Star efforts for the Blazers, there will be many more who will shower him with boos for the move.

With that in mind, the Spurs are bracing for what Danny Green said will be a “more hostile” environment than usual.

Spurs exercise contract option on Kyle Anderson

The San Antonio Spurs have exercised their third-year option on forward Kyle Anderson for the 2016-17 season. This was an expected move and will surprise no one.

Originally selected by the Spurs in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft (30th overall), Anderson averaged 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.2 minutes over 32 games last season. The former UCLA Bruin also appeared in 26 games with the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s NBA D-League affiliate, where he averaged 21.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 40.1 minutes.

Anderson was named MVP of the 2015 NBA Summer League after averaging 21.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 27.3 minutes over seven games, helping the Spurs win the 2015 Las Vegas Summer League Championship.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that the team has waived Reggie Williams and Julian Washburn.

San Antonio’s roster now stands at 15.

The regular season begins Tuesday.

Spurs sign Julian Washburn

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward Julian Washburn.

Until it is reported otherwise, we will assume it is a non-guaranteed deal.

Washburn, 6-8/210, recently concluded a four-year career at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where he averaged 11.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 34.2 minutes over 130 career games. He finished first in school history in total minutes (4,448), fourth in field goals (592) and sixth in scoring (1,526 points).

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that the team has waived Jimmer Fredette, Youssou Ndoye, Keifer Sykes and Deshaun Thomas.

San Antonio’s training camp roster now stands at 16 players.

Spurs reveal new black alternate jersey

The San Antonio Spurs unveiled today their Black Signature Spur jerseys that will be worn during the 2015-16 NBA season. The new black alternate uniform’s efficient jersey design simply features the iconic Spurs logo prominently over the heart, while the player numbers rest on the right breast. The uniforms feature silver panels with silver, black and white trim and the accompanying shorts also include the Spur logo on each side.

The Spurs will debut the new uniforms at the home opener vs. the Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 30 and will be worn multiple times this season. The Black Signature Spur uniforms will join the lineup of traditional home white and away black uniforms, along with the camouflage military and silver alternate versions. The Spurs debuted the silver version of the Signature Spur uniforms in 2012 and they were the first-ever NBA jersey logo without any writing or peripheral design.

Photo here.

Spurs fill training camp roster

Spurs fill training camp roster

The San Antonio Spurs yesterday announced their 2015-16 training camp roster.

The Spurs current roster stands at 20 players, and includes the additions of forwards Rasual Butler and Deshaun Thomas, guard Keifer Sykes and center Youssou Ndoye.

Butler (6-7, 205), a 12-year NBA veteran, spent last season with the Washington Wizards. He appeared in 75 games, averaging 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20.1 minutes. Originally selected by Miami with the 52nd overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Butler has played for the Indiana Pacers (2013-14), Toronto Raptors (2011-12), Chicago Bulls (2010-11), New Orleans Hornets (2005-09) and Heat (2002-05).

Thomas (6-7, 215) was drafted by the Spurs with the 58th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He spent last season overseas playing for FC Barcelona in the Spanish Liga ACB and Euroleague. The former Ohio State Buckeye averaged 8.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 20.4 minutes in 43 Liga games. In Euroleague action he averaged 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes in 28 games.

Sykes (6-0, 180) joins the Spurs after a standout career at Wisconsin-Green Bay. He was named the Horizon League Player of the Year as a junior and senior (2014 and 2015) and earned All-Horizon League First Team honors in three consecutive seasons (2013-15). As a senior Sykes averaged 18.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Sykes participated in the 2015 NBA Las Vegas Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 18.4 minutes over five games.

Ndoye (7-0, 250) recently wrapped up his collegiate career at St. Bonaventure where he was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team and garnered Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team honors. He was just one of two Atlantic 10 players to average a double-double, registering 11.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.60 blocks in his final season with the Bonnies. Ndoye was a member of the Spurs 2015 NBA Las Vegas Summer League team, averaging 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.4 minutes in six games.

Spurs hire Jacque Vaughn as pro scout

Spurs hire Jacque Vaughn as pro scout

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that Jacque Vaughn has been added to the front office. The former Spurs player and assistant coach will return to San Antonio as a pro scout.

Vaughn spent the last three seasons as head coach of the Orlando Magic (2012-15) and was the second-youngest head coach in the league when he was hired in 2012. Prior to leading Orlando, he spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich for the Silver and Black.

In his 12-year NBA playing career, Vaughn appeared in a total of 776 games and averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 assists. The former Kansas Jayhawk was drafted by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft (27th overall) and played his first four seasons in Salt Lake City. He then made stops with the Hawks, Magic and Nets before signing with the Spurs on July 12, 2006. Vaughn played his final three seasons in San Antonio and was part of the Spurs 2007 NBA Championship team before retiring after the 2008-09 season.

After retaining their core players while adding LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, the San Antonio Spurs are still an NBA championship contender. Their fans, of course, know this. Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reporting:

Want season tickets to watch the new-look Spurs play in the renovated AT&T Center this fall?

Get in line. Or rather, put your name on the list.

For the first time in club history, the Spurs will institute a waiting list for season tickets next week after selling out of their allotment of 13,200.

Current season-ticket holders will be given first priority, should they want to add to their personal inventory.

Video: Top Spurs plays of the season

Enjoy these video highlights of the best San Antonio Spurs plays from the 2014-15 NBA season:

There was no fear of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich leaving the team while Tim Duncan is still out there hitting bank-shots, but what about when The Big Fundamental hangs up his sneakers? Danny Green feels new additions to the roster will keep Pop on the sideline for seasons to come. Which is good news for everyone other than reporters interviewing him during the middle of a game. Here’s the San Antonio Express News reporting:

Like many Spurs players and fans, Green always had presumed Popovich would depart the Spurs bench as soon as team captain Tim Duncan opted for retirement. But with the signing of free agent power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and the new, five-year contract for teammate Kawhi Laonard signed in mid-July Green now believes Popovich will stick around past the end of 39-year-old Duncan’s career — whenever that comes.

“Without LaMarcus and Kawhi (Leonard) I think he’s out the door when Timmy leaves,” Green said on Wednesday after an appearance at the Spurs youth camp at George Gervin Academy. “Them being here I think extends his tenure just a little bit longer.

Spurs sign Jimmer Fredette

jimmer fredette

The San Antonio Spurs have signed guard Jimmer Fredette.

Fredette, 6-2/195, spent last season playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. He appeared in 50 games, averaging 3.6 points and 1.4 assists in 10.2 minutes.

After a celebrated college career, Fredette hasn’t made his mark in the NBA yet. Even as a reserve, he hasn’t solidified himself as a definite rotation player. In San Antonio, minutes will continue to be limited. He’ll need to make the most of every second of court time.

A four-year NBA veteran, Fredette was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. He was dealt to the Sacramento Kings in a draft night trade where he spent two-plus seasons. In March 2014 he signed with the Chicago Bulls where he played out the remainder of the 2013-14 season. In 229 NBA career games, Fredette is averaging 6.1 points, 1.4 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 13.7 minutes while shooting .412 (514-1,248) from the field, .381 (192-504) from beyond the arc and .878 (187-213) from the foul line.

Fredette enjoyed a four-year career (2007-11) at Brigham Young University where he led all Division I players in scoring (28.9 ppg) as a senior. In his final season with the Cougars, he won nearly every National Player of the Year honor including the Naismith, Wooden and Associated Press awards. The New York native finished his career averaging 18.7 points, 3.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game in 139 outings for the Cougars, and set BYU career records for points (2,599), three-pointers (296), games played (139) and total wins (112).

Spurs sign Jonathon Simmons

Spurs sign Jonathon Simmons

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed shooting guard Jonathon Simmons.

Simmons, 6-6/195, played on the Spurs 2015 Summer League team in Las Vegas where he helped lead the team to the Summer League Championship, averaging 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.71 steals in 24.6 minutes while shooting .519 (41-79) from the field and .700 (35-50) from the foul line in seven games. He was named MVP of the championship game, finishing with a team-high 23 points (7-14 FG, 9-12 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 24 minutes.

The 25-year-old Simmons has spent the past two seasons playing for the Austin Spurs, the NBA D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs. The Texas native made the team after attending an open tryout in Austin in 2013. Last season Simmons was named to the NBA D-League All-Defensive Third Team while appearing in all 50 games, averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.00 steals in 33.8 minutes. Simmons shot .494 (277-561) from the field, .398 (51-128) from three-point range and .750 (153-204) from the charity stripe.

During his two years with Austin, Simmons appeared in 94 games, averaging 12.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.00 blocks in 28.8 minutes while shooting .506 (446-882) from the field, .352 (76-216) from beyond the arc and .736 (22-303) from the foul line.

Prior to turning pro Simmons played one season (2011-12) at the University of Houston. The former Cougar appeared in all 30 games as a redshirt junior, averaging 14.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 30.1 minutes. Before transferring to Houston, Simmons played his sophomore season (2009-10) at Midland Junior College and his freshman season (2008-09) at Paris Junior College.

Spurs win 2015 summer league championship

Spurs win 2015 summer league championship

Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting on the Spurs and Suns, who Monday in Las Vegas battled for the 2015 summer league championship:

The Suns’ Summer League rotation of hot scoring hands turned to rookie free agent Mike James on Monday night, but even his 32-point game was not enough to bring the league tournament’s championship trophy to Phoenix.

James scored 23 second-half points, but San Antonio overcame an early 10-point hole to down the Suns 93-90 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The Suns ended the 24-team tournament with their sloppiest game. They committed 18 turnovers and had three players – T.J. Warren, Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker – foul out as the Summer League’s first female head coach, Becky Hammon, led the Spurs (6-1) to a win with two roster players – league MVP Kyle Anderson and championship-game MVP Jonathan Simmons.

James, an explosive 6-foot-1 point guard, hit 10 of 18 shots with 3-of-6 shooting from the 3-point line and 9-for-11 free throw shooting. He also had eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and five turnovers.

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