Confidence Growing for Spurs Guard Malaki Branham


Victor Wembanyama was the last player picked in the 2023 draft, and Jeremy Sochan was picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2022 draft.  

Malaki Branham, a second-year player who has been playing really well lately, has been lost in all the noise.His averages of 8.5 points, 2.2 assists, and 43.2 percent from the field are a little lower than they were as a rookie last year.  

His highs and lows this season have painted different visions regarding his future in the Silver and Black.   

But since he's been given more responsibility lately, he's been showing that he can be a very useful player off the bench. Because of two bad games on January 19th and 20th, Branham only saw the court for a total of 11 minutes.   

For four of the next five games, he sat on the bench. Since then, he has been slowly brought back into the team.  

After five games, though, he's looked like a whole different player, which makes coach Gregg Popovich feel good about giving him the ball.  

Just before the Spurs beat the Indiana Pacers, Popovich talked about what he thinks Branham should do from now on.  

“He’s more confident in shooting without hesitation," Pop remarked. "He's been open in the past, but he'll hesitate, trying to work the offense, hit the open man, etc., but we want him to establish himself as a shooter and let it fly when he can.  

Branham started in place of Julian Champagnie for the first time since early January. He capitalized, scoring 18 points and handing out six assists.   

It looks like his sudden confidence is helping him a lot. The most amazing thing about him might be that he only had one turnover. After the game, everyone in the group sang about how great Branham was.  

Wembanyama said, "The next time he missed a shot, Pop went up to him and told him something." "I do not know what was said, but it worked." He never missed again, I think."  

Since Branham went oh-for-one in the fourth quarter, Wembanyama is misremembering, but the Spurs' finest player clearly trusts him to shoot. Branham received further accolades from Popovich after the game.  

“He's come into games ready to shoot, more physical on defense, doing what we ask,” Pop said.Branham should not drive the offense, but he is a good secondary ball-handler with good court vision for a second-year player.   

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