This past week has exceeded almost anything Joshua Primo could have possibly dreamed of.
Coming into the NBA combine, Alabama’s 6-foot-4 shooting guard just wanted to test the NBA waters. As the youngest player in the draft class, Primo, a native of Toronto, knew there was no rush to make the jump to the NBA. He was coming off an impressive freshman season with the Crimson Tide and wasn’t receiving the kind of draft buzz that would have made signing an agent a certainty.
Now, following one of the most impressive combines of any draft prospect, his official entrance into the draft class seems like a certainty. The 18-year-old, born December 24, 2002, has scouts throughout the league buzzing about him with a first round or early second round draft grade.
“[I’m] starting to see that this is a real possibility for me,” Primo said during his combine media availability. “NBA has always been a dream for me and I’m just continuing to work at it each and every day, trying to work at my best.”
It’s not hard to see why NBA teams are taking a liking to Primo. He’s a long and athletic guard who shot 38% from three-point range and is young enough for organizations to dream about his developmental potential. Prior to the combine, there were some questions about his skills, particularly his ability to shot create for himself and others off the dribble.
Those have since been eased thanks to a stellar performance in his first scrimmage.
“He showed his ability to get to the rim, comfort initiating offense, and his playmaking and pace in traffic,” said Wesley Brown, an independent NBA scout. “He showed flashes of being more than just a shooter and he definitely impressed some scouts and helped his draft stock by not settling.”
Primo's goal right now is to get into first round consideration. If he gets a first round or early second round grade from NBA teams he'll likely stay in the class, otherwise he'll take another season at Alabama to continue to hone his craft.
As of Thursday, Primo had worked out for the Chicago Bulls and interviewed with almost a dozen more. While the Toronto Raptors weren't mentioned among those teams initially mentioned, Primo did credit his hometown team for inspiring him to pursue his dream.
"They meant everything," he said of the Raptors. "They were always someone you could look up to. You could go to a game and feel like you could really do this. It’s here, it’s in my country."
Growing up in Toronto, Primo used to run around the local parks in his Chris Bosh jersey. It's how he earned the nickname Josh Bosh, he said, always reluctant to take off the old Raptors No. 4.
In the short term, Primo is focused on doing whatever he can to improve his draft stock. He's working on cleaning up his rebounding skills, something he acknowledged need to be a little better for a guard of his size. Once in the league, Primo said he'd one day like to compete for the Canadian Senior Men's National team. He's been a long-time member of the Canadian program, having come up through the junior academy and playing on the U19 team in 2019.
With the way things have gone recently, there's little doubt Primo will be off to the NBA in the very near future. If not this year, he should be a shoo-in for the first round next year and, if things go right for Team Canada this summer and over the next few years, a spot on the Senior Men's National team is certainly going to be in the cards.