The Spurs selected Croatian forward Luka Samanic with the No. 19th pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

By Charlotte Carroll
June 20, 2019

The Spurs selected Croatian forward Luka Samanic with the No. 19th pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Samanic shined at the 2019 NBA draft combine after an up-and-down year playing professionally for Petrol Olimpija in Slovenia. At the Combine five-on-five game, Samanic totaled 13 points and seven rebounds.

The 6'11'', 210-pound Samanic is 19 years old. He's represented Croatia in FIBA events, and he won a gold medal at the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Division B in 2017, earning MVP honors.

He declared for the 2019 NBA draft in April.

SI NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo’s breakdown: Samanic is an interesting investment in the late first or early second round as a skilled big with legitimate versatility on the perimeter. He was in a tricky development situation this season that teams will take into account. Samanic badly needs to get stronger and develop his frame, but teams have long been intrigued by his ability to shoot, handle and pass at his size on the perimeter. His feel for the game is strong, and he has some theoretical versatility to offer as a potentially positionless big. He could be an intriguing stash player overseas, or a team could seek to bring him over next year to develop him hands-on.

Jeremy Woo's grade: B

This might be a little high for Samanic, but the Spurs ultimately opted for a player they came to covet after Goga Bitadze went off the board one pick earlier. The fit between prospect and team here is strong, and he may not have made it all the way to San Antonio at No. 29. Credit the Spurs for just grabbing the guy they like here, although this was considered to be the high end of his range. There’s a bit of risk involved here, but Samanic lands in a good situation for his development.

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