Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 8/16/13
The San Antonio Spurs drafted Cory Joseph with the 29th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft -- maybe an hour removed, tops, from snagging Kawhi Leonard in a perverse deal that potentially benefited both teams involved.   Leonard opened his rookie season entrenched behind Richard Jefferson, but gradually emerged as the starting small forward. Leonard, a heady player, still subsisted on a healthy diet of backdoor cuts and put backs, but he developed a potent perimeter shot to supplement his athleticism.   Joseph, meanwhile, sat and wait. It's unfair to compare the two, especially since Joseph just appeared in one collegiate season. He's appeared in 40 games with the Austin Toros in two seasons, and he's benefited from an environment best suited for his untapped skills.   Via The Globe and Mail:   “This year has definitely been a roller coaster,” Joseph said. “It’s been fun. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people, learn a lot of things from different angles. I’ve been a sponge, soaking it all up. Just trying to improve my game.”   With Tony Parker soaking up the majority of minutes at point guard, acclimating to the NBA wasn't easy. It's already a rough preposition, but especially so if your role isn't finite. Joseph requested a "demotion" to the Austin Toros, the Spurs' D-League affiliate, and he returned to San Antonio with a heightened awareness after his brief stint. Joseph, in scant minutes, averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 assists in his final eight regular season games.   “I didn’t know it was going to get this much publicity, you know?” Joseph said. “Every reporter probably asked me that. Every single one asked me about the decision I made. At the time I didn’t know it would be this big.   “They watch, they want me to learn. It was an investment. I was just working. I was working and when I got my opportunity, whenever it was, that year, the next year, I’d be able to capitalize and feel like I was ready.”   Despite the strong finish to his sophomore season, Joseph knows there is plenty of room for improvement in his game and said he is honing in on his shooting and leadership skills this summer.   Joseph played in just 41 minutes during the NBA finals, though most of it occurred in low-leverage situations. His emotions, simply put, were all over the place.   “Playing on the biggest stage in basketball, in the world, nobody could ask for more,” Joseph said. “Obviously we were excited, happy, anxious, dialed in, focused, all of the emotions you could possibly think of, we were feeling. I mean, at the end, all of them. Mad, sad, all of it at once.”   Joseph, along with Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson and presumptive 2014 top pick Andrew Wiggins, will head an emerging Canadian program poised to contend in any international competition. Well, that's a first, isn't it?   “Kids realize they have different options now and they realize that it can actually happen,” Joseph said. “We’ve always had talented people, but I think Tristan (Thompson) and I being the first guys to get drafted in the first round together that opened some eyes.”
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Rajon Rondo wants 'all of' Kings' $10M cap space

Reports: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson returning to Cavs

Dwyane Wade, Heat reportedly progressing in contract talks

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Brandon Spikes sentenced to one year probation in crash

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Leafs trade Kessel to Penguins in multi-player deal

David Ortiz vehemently denies that his bat speed is declining

Report: Spurs sign Danny Green to deal, trade Tiago Splitter

Matt Duffy is baseball’s biggest surprise

Jim Harbaugh joins Colin Cowherd for awkward interview

Report: Butler leaning toward long-term deal with Bulls

The best and worst MLB players in the month of June

Report: Lakers didn’t make strong impression on Aldridge

Danny Green takes the Andre Iguodala path

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

Deciding what the All-Star Game really means

Being a Dallas Cowboys fan could cost Chris Christie votes

Winning and losing the strike zone game: Midseason update

Baltimore Orioles keep finding a way to win

Aldridge recruited to Lakers by Adam Levine, Snoop Dogg

Report: Pelicans sign Davis to five-year, $145M extension

Rex Ryan more excited about Taylor than Cassel?

Jose Aldo out of UFC 189, replaced by Chad Mendes

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.