Spurs make final cut, set opening night roster versus Charlotte Hornets

Joe Wisekamp was released Monday, trimming roster to NBA limit

San Antonio Spurs' Keldon Johnson (3) attempts to steal the ball from Charlotte Hornets' Malik Monk during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Monday, March 22, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) (Darren Abate, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The San Antonio Spurs on Monday announced their final roster cut in anticipation of Wednesday night’s season opening tilt at home against the Charlotte Hornets.

Joe Wisekamp, a second-round draft pick out of the University of Iowa, was officially released to get down to the NBA-mandated 17-player limit.

👉 VIDEO FEATURE: 1-on-1 with Spurs rookie Jeremy Sochan

Wieskamp previously appeared in 29 games for the Spurs, averaging just 2.1 points in 7.1 minutes per game after being drafted by San Antonio as the 41st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He also played and started in 28 games for the Austin Spurs, where he averaged 15.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 32.4 minutes.

His release comes on the heels of waiving forward Alize Johnson and guard Tommy Kuhse, both of whom were training camp invitees.

The Spurs finished the preseason with a record of 1-4, but more importantly, also saw two key players -- forward Keldon Johnson and guard Josh Primo -- return from injuries. They are both expected to be available versus the Hornets.

Tipoff for the game is 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center.

Starting five

For the season opener, it is expected that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will trot out the same unit that opened the final preseason game.

That group includes 7-foot center Jakob Poeltl, rookie first-round pick Jeremy Sochan, projected leading scorer Keldon Johnson and guards Devin Vassell and Tre Jones.

Against the Thunder in their final preseason game, Johnson had 19 points and Vassell 18 points. The lineup should again be stout defensively, but questions remain offensively after trading away last season’s leading scorer and only All-Star, Dejounte Murray.

Bench Unit

This season’s bench unit is an interesting mix, comprised of both the team’s oldest veterans, along with some of their youngest players and most recent draft selections.

Guard Josh Richardson, forwards Doug McDermott and Keita Bates-Diop and center Zach Collins all may see heavy minutes until the youth on the roster gets up to speed. Josh Primo, a second-year 6-foot-6 guard out of Alabama, is expected to play a pivotal role and will likely see a huge increase in production. The team’s other two 2022 first-round draft picks, guards Malaki Branham (who played well this preseason) and Blake Wesley, will also be pushing to see the floor as well.

The team has signed two two-way players to contracts, both of whom will see some G-League games in Austin. Guard Jordan Hall, a rookie from St. Joseph’s and Dominick Barlow, a 6-foot-9 inch big man formerly of the Overtime Elite development program, will try to improve their games.

Free agent signees Isaiah Roby and center Gorgui Dieng, along with guard Romeo Langford (who was acquired in the Derrick White trade) round out the official roster.

And an interesting note: the Spurs’ opening day roster has five total players (Joshua Primo, Blake Wesley, Dominick Barlow, Malaki Branham and Jeremy Sochan) who are just 19 years old as the 2022-2023 season begins.

The Spurs’ group of teens, incidentally, are five of the NBA’s 17 youngest players who made rosters or got two-way deals to start the season, the Associated Press reported.

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About the Author:

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.