San Antonio Spurs PF Option 2: Thaddeus Young
I always try to be hopeful. I enjoy being positive about my favorite team and its players. But Luka Samanic is an experiment, and if it fails then at least the Spurs have a solid second option.
By December, Thaddeus Young will probably be the veteran presence in a young starting five. Unlike with Luka, Spurs fans know exactly what they’re getting with Young -- a hustle player who can score double-digit points, grab a good amount of boards, and play stellar defense. He has some things to work on, sure, but he’s a solid option in the starting rotation and is the safe bet for the Spurs to plug in.
I’d like to see Luka get a lot of playing time early on, but if that doesn’t work out or if Young simply plays better, well, the Spurs traded for him for a reason. Samanic has a lot of upsides, but it’s getting increasingly clear his defense is subpar at best.
Young is one of the most underrated defenders in the league. If the Spurs want to remain a defensive force, pairing Young with Murray and Poeltl in the starting five just makes sense. Luka and Thaddeus could easily both start 30 games this year and play key roles off the bench in games they don’t start.
Young is probably the better player, but Luka could be the future. Starting both have merits, so expect the coaching staff to move them both around as they see fit.