HomeBasketball TodayStaying Cool: How Spurs are Thriving Through Their Toughest Season Yet

Staying Cool: How Spurs are Thriving Through Their Toughest Season Yet

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The Spurs are keeping level heads, despite the losses.

With a month and a half left in the NBA regular season, the San Antonio Spurs are on track to suffer their worst season record in franchise history. Showing 11 wins through February, the Silver and Black aren’t on pace to exceed the 20 victories the 1996-1997 team mustered. Amid the struggles, the young team is taking cues from two of its — relatively speaking — veterans like Keldon Johnson and Tre Jones.

The Spurs hype man

Always boisterous and never at a loss for words, fifth-year forward Keldon Johnson is the team’s lightning rod. But the longest-tenured Spur can also serve as a counterbalance at times.

“When we go through adversity, KJ tells us to settle down. It happens when teams go on a run. He’ll tell us to keep our composure and keep to ourselves.” guard Blake Wesley says.

“I think you can tell watching the games that when Keldon’s getting into it, everybody gets into it. The carry over is there,” adds forward Julian Champagnie.

But is Johnson the Spur who consistently calls for calm, especially within the toughest of seasons?

San Antonio’s calming presence

Former Spur Doug McDermott mentioned a couple of names when ClutchPoints asked the players who usually steadies the ship in rough waters.

“I’d say Vic. He’s very calm, very calming influence on the whole group,” the Indiana Pacer as of early February said of Victor Wembanyama.

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“And Tre Jones as well. I think every point guard has that ability and him being in the starting line up has really kind of smoothed things out a little bit, just being able to facilitate and bring some other guys off the bench that are doing a great job of coming in and scoring.”

There’s another name, though, that came up several times among the Spurs with whom ClutchPoints spoke.

“I say Tre Jones, I say Keldon, and I say Dev [Devin Vassell] because every time they go on a run, Devin is like, ‘Let’s go, we’re good, let’s keep on pushing.’ So it motivates everybody to keep their heads up,” Wesley says.

Champagnie threw his name into the mix before also mentioning the Spurs second-leading scorer.

“I think I’m pretty calm. I think Devin is too. Devin and Keldon are like two opposite sides of the blade where as Devin is calm, cool, collected, he’s quiet. He’ll get you going, he’ll just talk to you. Keldon’s going to scream at you, get in your face, rile you up. They’re just two different styles of leadership.”

“When Devin gets into it, everybody’s calm and cool. I think the carry over is there for sure,” Champagnie continues.

For Vassell the role comes naturally.

“I just think that’s my personality and mentality. I’ve always just kind of been like a chill guy.”

“When it comes to the basketball court, I’m always trying to be a leader,” the fourth-year Spurs guard declares.

“I don’t have to sit here and scream for people to know and feel the passion that I’m talking about. Most of the team, they already know just by the demeanor of how I’m talking or whatever the case may be,” the former Florida State Seminole adds.

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“I guess that’s what it is. I’m just not really a very loud person.”

Given their season, the Spurs could use a number of different approaches.

Hector Ledesma_headshot

About the Author

Hector Ledesma has been covering the Spurs in San Antonio since 2005, but he has been following them for even longer than that. An award-winning journalist born and raised in San Antonio, Hector has worked across all types of television and radio platforms. His work extends online and through social media (@HectorLedesmaTV) where he continues that work with ClutchPoints.

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