San Antonio Spurs: Luka Samanic is packing on muscle for year two

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: Luka Samanic poses with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted with the 19th overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 20: Luka Samanic poses with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted with the 19th overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs 2019 first-round pick is packing on some muscle

When the San Antonio Spurs took Luka Samanic with the 19th overall pick last year, two things immediately jumped out at you about the young Croatian big man. First was his mobility and potential, followed quickly by how skinny he was.

Listed at 6’10 on draft night, Samanic had the size to play in any NBA frontcourt but he was very clearly lacking the muscle he needed to survive the 82-game season. Packing on pounds to his slight frame was going to have to be a major point of emphasis in his rookie season.

Looking back on Samanic’s rookie season, we didn’t get to see as much of him as some would have liked. He spent most of his time with the Austin Spurs and, outside of an impressive regular-season finale in the bubble, never received significant playing time with San Antonio.

Still, what we did see was exciting. Samanic has a ton of potential and has clearly been taking his development seriously. Especially in the weight room, as recent a recently posted photograph shows.

Luka Samanic looks ripped and ready for year two with San Antonio Spurs

A recently posted photo on Luka’s Instagram page shows a muscular frame that hardly looks like the lanky player that walked across the stage to meet Adam Silver last June.

A lot of outside noise, I'm starting not to hear it.

A post shared by @ lukasamanic9 on

Sporting some new ink and a pair of pythons that would look at home in the San Antonio Zoo, Samanic looks like he’s having himself a productive offseason. That’s should thill Spurs fans who are surely excited to see what the rangy forward can do in an expanded role in 2020-21.

Adding muscle isn’t the only physical change that we’ve noticed from Tall Luka over the past few months. In a photo posted from inside the bubble, he looked like he was pushing close to 7-feet tall. We could be seeing a very different player when the Spurs come back for next season.

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A taller, more filled out Samanic could open up all sorts of exciting possibilities for San Antonio next season. He played 70 percent of his minutes at the five this year and the added height and weight will certainly help him hold his own if that’s a trend that the Spurs expect to continue to lean into.

If San Antonio would prefer to put him out on the wing in a Rudy Gay type role, the physical changes we’re seeing from him should make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders.

As he approaches 7-feet tall, if he’s not there already, his shot is going to become increasingly harder to block. And if he can improve just a bit on his 37.5 percent accuracy from behind the arc he could become a weapon that we see San Antonio look to more often.

So he’s too tall for smaller players to defend properly, and now he’s packing on the weight he needs to bully defenders if they’ve got the length to contest his shot. I expect that we’re going to see him aggressively driving to the rim quite a bit more than we did this season.

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We’ll have to wait until closer to the season to get exact measurements on how much taller Luka’s gotten and how much weight he’s packed on. In any case, San Antonio Spurs fans should be thrilled with the progress that the young man has made in such a short time.

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