The San Antonio Spurs selected Croatian forward Luka Samanic with the 19th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Thursday evening.
Samanic, 6’10”, played with KK Olimpija last season in Slovenia, and he averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in the Adriatic League. Samanic shot 37.9% from three in the Adriatic League.
“I think I;m a big guy. I can run the floor, play defense, switch from 1 to 5, shoot the ball,” said Samanic. “I think that’s really imnportant. And spread the floor for the guards.”
Asked of his NBA comparisons, here’s who Samanic compared his game to: “Right now I think Kd (Kevin Durant). A big guy who can shoot, who can play facing the basket, low post. But all the time, maybe (Andrei) Kirilenko. He played in Utah. I can run and jump and play defense. Just whatever it takes.”
Here are some of Samanic’s strengths according to the NBA draft guide:
Great size and agility for a modern forward.
• Good athlete who plays above the rim in space.
• Capable spot-up three-point shooter.
• Post skills are steadily improving.
Spurs General Manager RC Buford recently scouted one of his games according to reports. The Ringer.com has his main selling point as switchability. They compare him to Maxi Kleber and Thon Maker.
On a telephone interview, Samanic said he intends to play in the NBA “right away” and he intends to play in the 2019 Summer League. Samanic also called it a “blessing” to play for Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs organization.