2019 NBA Draft Profile: Luka Samanic
Luka Samanic is among the more athletic European forwards to come through the draft in recent memory. He came on late in his first season in Slovenia before putting together a strong showing in the competitive portion of the NBA Draft Combine. Samanic emerged as a prospect early in his career averaging 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game for Croatia at the 2016 FIBA U16 European Championship. Spending the next two seasons with FC Barcelona’s second and junior teams, the Zagreb native built a strong resume at a junior level turning in stellar performances at and last year’s FIBA U18 European Championship and adidas Next Generation Tournament. Carving out a small role in the Spanish 2nd Division, the fluid forward moved to Petrol Olimpija this season averaging 8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game across the Basketball Champion’s League, Adriatic League, and Slovenian 1st Division.
- Possesses terrific size for a power forward measuring 6’11 in shoes with a steadily improving 227-pound frame but has only a 6’10.5 wingspan. Fluid athlete with impressive leaping ability on the move and very good feet. Has room to continue getting stronger but has come a long way physically in his late teens already.
- Played significantly more minutes some nights than others this season putting together several strong stretches showing promise as an inside-outside scorer off the ball, the ability to make straight line drives to the rim, and competing with a solid energy level.
- Capable Spot Up and Cut threat who flashes potential as a shooter and finisher. 31% of his shots in the half court were jump shots last season nearly all of which came off the catch. Scored 0.907 points per jump shot in the half court [49th percentile]. Shoots the ball with solid mechanics that still have room to improve to help him get a little more arc on attempts from behind the 3-point line.
- Deceptive first step and improved frame have been more of a factor inside than his leaping ability. Scored 1.181 points per shot around the rim in the half court [53rd percentile] able to find some success attacking closeouts and handle physicality a bit better inside than in the past. Still has a lot of room to get stronger, but trajectory in that regard is promising. Has nice touch with his left hand and will throw down an occasional dunk on the move, but is more bouncy jumping off of one foot with a head of steam than off of two. Ball handling ability has yet to catch up with his agility.
- Got quite a few opportunities to operate out of the post last season showing the ability to use quick spin moves to find angles inside, but looking sped up as a passer. 18% of his possessions were Post Ups which he converted for 0.789 points per Post Up possession [40th percentile].
- Improving defender with intriguing versatility. Has very good feet for his size and plays with more toughness than he did early in his career. Could be more active off the ball and as a rebounder.
- Allowed 0.771 points per Post Up possession [66th percentile] and 0.515 points per Isolation possession [89th percentile] finding more success with his ability to slide on the perimeter than bang inside at this point in his career.