Spurs Select Joshua Primo with 12th Pick in NBA Draft

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Image credit: (Michael Conroy/AP)

With the 12th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs made a surprising selection Thursday by drafting 6’6″ Alabama guard Joshua Primo.

The reason the pick was surprising was because most mock drafts had Primo being selected toward the end of the draft. The Project Spurs Draft Board had his average selection at 28th.

Even Primo said he was surprised to be taken at 12th.

“Going that high, I don’t know if I was ready for that,” said Primo. “But I’m glad it’s with the Spurs.”

“Honestly, I told my agent to shut up,” said Primo when his agent first told him he’d be going 12th to the Spurs. Primo couldn’t believe it until he saw it on the screen he said.

Project Spurs’ Benjamin Bornstein wrote about Primo in mid-July, and Bornstein noted Primo had a really good NBA draft combine.

“Things changed around the combine,” said Primo of his draft stock rising with NBA teams.

Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV said he was in the Spurs’ practice facility when Primo had his workout with the Spurs. Walker IV said the Spurs were raving about Primo’s workout.

“It was a great workout,” said Primo. “It was more about being able to interact with the coaching staff, the support staff. The workout went great, but it was more about the fit.”

Primo will turn 19 in December, and he’ll now be on a rookie scale contract for the next four years. He’ll be just 23 after four years of NBA experience before the Spurs would have to decide whether to extend his contract or let him become a restricted free agent.

Primo says some of his strengths on defense are being able to switch 1-3, and even some 4. On offense, it’s his shooting.

He said areas of his game he wants to improve are his rebounding and playmaking.

“I’m more than just a shooter,” said Primo of wanting to develop his playmaking.

Here are Primo’s strengths from the NBA draft guide:

  • Long, athletic wing with excellent shooting potential.
  • Shoots an easy ball with great mechanics.
  • Shows flashes of handle and shot-creation skills.
  • Smart defender who gets to the right spots.

The Ringer writes he has shades of Caris LeVert and Anfernee Simons in his game. NBADraftRoom.com has his player comp as Terrence Ross.

When asked what comes to mind when he thinks of the Spurs, Primo said, “I think family, I think winning is big. Competing at the highest level. I think the mid-range, I love that.”

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