Luka Samanic's 2019 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Analysis of Spurs PickJune 21, 2019
The San Antonio Spurs have selected Luka Samanic with the No. 19 pick of the 2019 NBA draft.
He's done his most damage over the years during summer FIBA tournaments. He was quieter in the Adriatic and Slovenian leagues over the past eight months. That made the 19-year-old Croatian a big draw at the combine, where teams could see him play against top college players and mostly second-round picks. Samanic was the standout during Thursday's scrimmage, as he showcased his skill level, toughness and NBA fit.
Weight: 227.2 pounds
Pro comparison: Jonas Jerebko
Samanic is a skilled power forward capable of shooting or using the dribble. He's not a knockdown shooter, but he made 33.8 percent of his threes and 72.2 percent of his free throws last season, showing touch and control on his shot. Samanic can also put the ball down and attack closeouts. He's fluid on drives to the basket and capable of finishing after contract. He also shows toughness around the basket.
Samanic can be passive. He's an average athlete. His jumper will also be a crucial skill for him, so it's important he makes gradual improvement. He's flashed glimpses of shot versatility but not consistent execution. He totaled 69 turnovers to 44 assists.
With a wingspan shorter than his height, Samanic won't offer any rim protection or defensive playmaking. He does show encouraging foot speed and competitiveness. Samanic has the potential to be a fine one-on-one defender in space. And he has the body to play physical with opposing bigs in the post.
Samanic played just 18.4 minutes per game in 2018-19, and he'll enter the league at 19 years old. He won't be expected to have a major rookie role, though the coaching staff could use him for stretches to give the offense a different look with his ability to stretch the floor. It's more likely he plays in the G League next season.
Projected role: Stretch 4 role player
Without explosion or an elite skill, a realistic projection for Samanic is a role-playing stretch 4. He's versatile enough offensively with the strength and mobility to be a serviceable defender. Assuming he continues to improve his shooting, Samanic should be able to carve out a career as a Jonas Jerebko type.