Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 11/3/14
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

Kentucky seeks one kind of history, Coach K makes another

Matt Stafford's fiancee rips newspaper over article

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Frozen Four: Providence earns first bid since 1985

Report: Discussions to bring NFL team to L.A. are progressing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Chris Mullin expected to take St. John's job

Michigan State beats Louisville, punches Final Four ticket

Ex-NHL player viciously attacks opponent before game

Rick Barnes a possibility for Tennessee coaching job?

Report: NFL looking into Bill Belichick's camera ideas

Saints CB Brian Dixon arrested in Miami

WrestleMania 31 results: Rollins cashes in, Rousey appears

Five soon-to-be NBA free agents with a lot on the line

WATCH: Russell Wilson hits home run during Rangers BP

Hooked 'em: Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Adam Morrison trolled fan who made JJ Redick comment

Jim Harbaugh finished fourth in student government election

WATCH: Notre Dame gets warm reception upon return home

WATCH: Kris Letang hospitalized after hit

Aaron Rodgers, sportswriter get into it over on-court access

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

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

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

CC Sabathia goes off about spring stats

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

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.