Josh Primo's rookie year should feature plenty of time with Manu
When the San Antonio Spurs used the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft to select an 18-year-old who hadn't even started every game for his college team, reactions were mixed. Many, myself included, thought that the Spurs had reached to select Josh Primo. But with his impressive play in Summer League and rave reviews from teammates and coaches alike, Primo is starting to win his doubters over.
One point that Primo advocates regularly called out is just how young the Spurs rookie is. He won't turn 19 until December 24th of this year. He's effectively playing out his freshman season with the Spurs. He might not get the playing time other rookies will, but he's well ahead of where most players his age will be. And what better way to maximize his early start to the NBA than by soaking up all the knowledge Manu Ginobili can impart on him?
Physically, Primo compares well to Ginobili. Both stand 6-6 with near 6-9 wingspans and both can score smoothly from every level of the floor. Similar to Manu, Primo showcased an ability to weave his way into the lane and get his points with a variety of floaters, pull-up jumpers, and layups.
But where Primo has really impressed is in his ability to maneuver without the ball in his hands. Even with very few years under his belt, he's already showing an innate ability to be in the right spots at the right time.
Spurs fans will surely get upset when Primo is inevitably sent to Austin at some point during his rookie year, but it's important to keep the long term goal front of mind here. While other players his age are BS'ing their way through gen ed's and waiting to hear their names called on draft night, Primo can spend every waking minute focused on his craft and learning from one of the best guards to ever play the game.
We probably won't see Primo unleashed this season, but if he dedicates his rookie year to learning as much as he possibly can from Ginobili and the rest of the Spurs coaching staff, you can bet that those lessons are going to compound over time. What initially seemed like a massive reach might just end up being one of the steals of the 2021 Draft.