San Antonio Spurs all-time draft bust starting lineup

San Antonio Spurs Luka Samanic
San Antonio Spurs Luka Samanic / Alex Menendez/GettyImages
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Power Forward: Luka Samanic

In 2020, the Spurs had two first-round selections and took Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson with the 19th and 29th picks, respectively. Perhaps if Samanic had been drafted 29th and Keldon Johnson had been drafted 19th, Samanic's failure to work out wouldn't feel quite as disappointing. Instead, Samanic played just 36 games for the Spurs over two seasons and failed to make the final cut during the preseason, with the team instead choosing to keep Keita Bates-Diop.

That was and still is the right decision, considering Samanic wasn't ready to contribute, and a year and a half later, he still isn't. Part of his initial appeal was his age—The Spurs drafted him when he was just 19—and his size, athleticism, and potential to be a stretch four. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to have the drive needed to put those tools together, and the Spurs wisely moved on rather than sink more time into trying to develop him.

Samanic later signed with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics on two-way contracts but has yet to play in the NBA since, though he has played well in the G League. Overall, the Spurs gambled on a young, talented player, but they reached by taking him where they did, and it failed to pay off.