The Spurs pick that everybody doesn’t like, even from the Spurs fans. The San Antonio Spurs selected Luka Samanic as the 19th pick overall in 2019 NBA Draft night. Many experts believe the Spurs gamble at this kid from Croatia too early. Luka Samanic had a talent which seen by the San Antonio front office which they can help to develop when they bring this kid into the United States right away. The team put him to play into the G League with the Austin Spurs team. He shows that he needs more improvements. Luka’s Samanic body language doesn’t look good when he played in the preseason, he looks timid and reluctant to move without the ball in his hands. Until multiple Spurs players had been positive on COVID 19, the 21-year-old kid made his first start against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although the Spurs lost that game via buzzer-beater, Samanic made his mark by playing almost 19 minutes and scored 4 points while grabbed 4 rebounds at the same time. It was the start that Popovich gives him his minutes, in a win against the Pelicans, the kid scored zero points but grabbed five rebounds which 2 of it was offensive. Then in a close game against the Brooklyn Nets, Samanic hits a big 2 three-point shot in the game even they lost it in overtime. The big game for him as he played against the New York Knicks and sometimes hold the best of Julius Randle. He tallied 14 points on 5 of 7 attempts, three of five from the arc, seven rebounds, 1 assist, steals, and block. Samanic helps his team to win big against the surprising team in Eastern Conference.
Although it was the veteran Rudy Gay, and rookie Devin Vassell ahead of him, this kid made a great impression with the coaching staff about his role in the Spurs uniform. Once Rudy Gay is away in San Antonio if he intends to sign elsewhere Luka Samanic can be the third option at power forward if the team intends to play him big. This season could give him more confidence to work more for his potential. He could be the next unicorn as the kid can play both ends of the court. Some of the veteran minutes will split to Luka. The kid from Croatia had the length and athleticism to fulfill his potential. His court awareness in the court is very rare when we compared a guy for his size. This young kid can also put the ball on the floor to attacked his man using dribble and drive although he needs to control himself as he almost called for an offensive foul. With another summer workout, he could grow himself and his body to fights for more offensive boards which Samanic grabbed 25% of his rebound. When Gay will be out, the young kid can at least play 15 minutes per game.
In just limited minutes, Samanic showed his potential that he also belongs in the league. The 6’10” knows where to position his body to get rebounds either defensive or offensive rebounds. In seven games that he played in more than 10 minutes this season, Samanic had offensive boards on 5 of them. This young kid shows that he can either beat his man when he put the ball on the floor or being a spot-up shooter. He made 11 out of his 16 shots in the paint which is very highly efficient on finishing above the rim.
Luka Samanic showing how much he worth why the Spurs invested in him. In today’s league the NBA mostly used small guys as center or power forward, Samanic fits the bill. He’s not a game-changer so far from his career but he’s a perfect unicorn for San Antonio’s future. When most people laugh at what do we think of Spurs’ front office mistakes, they’ve been patience on their own. They were highly criticized for not drafting Brandon Clarke as this 25-year-old guy doing a good role in Memphis. If the Spurs selected this guy instead of Samanic, for sure they don’t have Keldon Johnson right now who’s been playing excellent this season. San Antonio brings guys who nobody knows how do they play but give the team the best reward in the process. Names like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili are a few of them, some role players like Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, Jonathan Simmons are others who played a great part in San Antonio’s winning culture.
With the high confidence which he gets in every minute this season, it could only makes him a better player. In the long run, it could be another good investment return for the best franchise in the sports.