Earlier this evening, San Antonio Spurs fans were finally able to see Josh Primo in action, and he didn't disappoint. This was his first opportunity, at only 18 years old, to show fans why the Spurs were confident enough to select him 12th overall.
Tonight, the Spurs Summer League team had the opportunity to play the Utah Blue (one of two summer league rosters for the Utah Jazz). Although the game ended in a loss for the Spurs, Primo came out confident and swinging as the primary ball handler for the silver and black.
Here's a brief recap of how he played tonight and what his performance means for him moving forward.
Overall, Primo showed a ton of promise as a longer-term project for the Spurs tonight. Despite still only being 18 years old, his poise on the court was something special to watch. Generally speaking, although he made his fair share of mistakes, he looked very unafraid and unfazed by the heightened level of competition.
In 20 minutes played, Primo ended the game with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Most notably, he proved that his potential as a three-level scorer is undeniably present. His first professional points came off of a contested but pure three-point shot from the wing.
A bit later on, though, Primo hit a nice scoop layup through contact that was impressive for his size.
Even later on, Primo was able to show off his floater game, getting a couple of points off a goaltend that may have been a good shot anyway. The commentators noted after that play that if Primo could hit that shot consistently in the league, that "he'll have a long career."
In addition to some seriously good flashes of scoring, though, Primo was able to impress on the other end of the floor too. His defense definitely appeared to be a bit better than advertised, and he and Devin Vassell worked quite well together on the court. At one point, Primo's excellent on-ball defense on a bigger player allowed Vassell to pick the ball and slam it down in transition.
Although I was very impressed by Primo's performance once it was all said and done, he did also show why he isn't exactly an NBA-ready plug-and-play kind of player.
Most notably, Primo ended the game with a team-high six turnovers; he will need to learn how to take better care of the basketball. His rudimentary ball-handling skills are by far where most of his turnover troubles came from.
At Alabama, Primo mostly played as a spot-up shooter, and it was abundantly clear tonight that he isn't accustomed to being the primary ball-handler. That being said, though, for being so young, his court vision made up for his handles, and he could have easily had between four to six assists had his teammates hit their shots.
Primo's decision-making could certainly also use some improvement, but such a problem is a very common one among young players. It was also likely only exacerbated by playing against a team whose youngest player is 23 years old.
Ultimately, for Primo being as young and raw as he is, his performance was fantastic. He will certainly give the Spurs' development staff a lot to build upon, and the team could have a young star on their hands.