Even though he didn’t make an impact, there were positive takeaways from San Antonio Spurs rookie Luka Samanic’s first year. Now, it’s time to put in work.
The period between a player’s first and second season in the NBA is crucial to their development. Entering the league knowing that it would take time to adapt, Croatian forward Luka Samanic took strides during his rookie year with the San Antonio Spurs. He exceeded expectations in the G-League despite streaky shooting and turnover problems by putting his instincts to use.
Though Samanic was a non-factor for the Spurs on the court, he’ll be in a featured role once he gets adapted to the league. Not only is it the fastest pace he’s ever been a part of, but the physicality is at an all-time high. Simply being tall and lanky isn’t enough to make this transition palpable, which the organization knew when they brought him in.
In the final regular-season game, Samanic made his first career start for the Spurs. This was the culmination of all of his efforts in the G League and practices with the main squad. His jumper looked clean with a pretty shooting stroke and a good sense of when to launch them. Samanic ended the game with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists with a few triples and some solid defensive stances.
Granted, this was against some of Utah’s lesser-known commodities, but NBA players nonetheless. The fact that Samanic could hold his own was crucial to his long-term success with the team. His next step is to carry all that he learned into the offseason and push himself to reach the ceiling that San Antonio bought into with the 19th overall pick.