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San Antonio Spurs: 3 Lineup wrinkles to try out over final month of season

Apr 16, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich grabs guard Lonnie Walker IV (1) by the shoulders in the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich grabs guard Lonnie Walker IV (1) by the shoulders in the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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Apr 12, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Luka Samanic (19) drives to the basket through Orlando Magic guard Karim Mane (4) and f
Apr 12, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Luka Samanic (19) drives to the basket through Orlando Magic guard Karim Mane (4) and f

San Antonio Spurs should let Luka Samanic run with Jakob Poeltl

I recently covered some 2021 NBA Draft frontcourt prospects that the San Antonio Spurs should be looking at but please don’t let that lead you to believe that I’ve given up hope on Luka Samanic. I am still very much on Team Luka.

The tendency has been for Luka to only get into games when they’re already decided and spend his time playing with guys like Tre Jones and Drew Eubanks. That’s a start. I’d rather see him get some playing time than none at all, but the Spurs should think about putting Samanic in situations that’ll better prepare him for the future.

So far this season, Luka has spent 189 minutes sharing the floor with Drew Eubanks and has a net rating of -11.8 in that time. Conversely, Samanic has played 57 minutes with Jakob Poeltl and has a net rating of +5.2 in those minutes. So why aren’t the Spurs experimenting more with that Poeltl/Samanic combination?

As previously mentioned, most of it comes down to when Luka is getting the majority of his minutes. Continuing to run your starting center out with the bench guys doesn’t make much sense so getting Poeltl and Samanic on the court together will have to be an intentional deviation away from what the Spurs have been doing for most of the season. But it could be worth it.

Poeltl seems to be the Spurs starting center of the future and Samanic could be destined for the other frontcourt spot. And on paper, and from what we’ve seen on the court thus far, the partnership could work! Samanic has the floor-spacing ability to complement Poeltl’s fondness for the low post and their versatility on defense should play off each other well.

This looks like a promising combination but we’re not going to know for sure until Popovich plays these two together more often.

Next: Unleash the Hydra

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