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San Antonio Spurs: 2021-22 will make or break Luka Samanic

Cal Durrett
Luka Samanic - San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz
Luka Samanic - San Antonio Spurs v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Luka Samanic - New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Luka Samanic can become a Swiss Army knife for the San Antonio Spurs

In addition to being able to knock down open threes, he is capable of attacking late closeouts by defenders. Samanic has excellent handles for someone his size and appears to be comfortable driving into traffic, making use of crossovers and long strides to get to the rim. At the rim, he converted on an impressive 73.5% of shots within 3 feet of the baskets, showing an improvement in that regard.

Another intriguing aspect of his game involves his post-game. Opposing coaches occasionally have wings defending stretch fours, knowing that other players like Samanic aren’t always able to punish them inside the paint. Simultaneously, on the other end of the floor, many stretch fours do not have the necessary agility to defend those same wing players.

Samanic, however, already has a burgeoning post-game and should be able to punish wings in those situations. And while he isn’t likely to become San Antonio's next great post player, he could find reliable offense by attacking mismatches in the post. Boris Diaw found similar success with the Spurs and could serve as a model for Samanic’s game.

Also, similarly to Diaw, Samanic is a good passer (though not quite as good) adding another potential facet to his game. He appears capable of finding open cutters, driving and kicking the ball back out, and finding shooters in transition off rebounds.

On the defensive side of the ball, Samanic has proved capable of defending out on the perimeter, allowing him to guard some guards and wings. In addition, his athleticism affords him the possibility that he could begin using his verticality to become an effective rim protector. Lastly, he has proven to be a good defensive rebounder, which is relatively rare for floor-spacing bigs.

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