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Next European Guy: Luka Samanic

Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

“The NBA has been my dream since I was a little kid’’

Yeah. Like every little boy, Luka Samanic had a dream.  So how close is he to making the most of this dream?

The NBA game is changing. Big men have to play differently as they have to stay moving and be intelligent. Of course, they have to catch the rhythm of the shot. Luka Samanic, who will enter the NBA Draft in 2019, can make a difference in the philosophy of the changing game, given the characteristics of the game. Ladies and gentlemen, the new European star: Luka Samanic.

Before telling the strengths and weaknesses of Luka, let’s take a brief look at Croatian basketball. Currently playing in the NBA, Croatian players: Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja, Bojan Bogdanovic and Ivica Zubac. If back to the future, we can also see Drazen Petrovic, the leader in the opening of European basketball to America. And of course, there are also successful stars in European basketball. Anyway, when we look at the general characteristics of these names, we can see that they strengthen their weaknesses in a short period of time. Of course, players like the Hezonja are limited to the ceiling, but potentially a player who deepens his abilities. It’s possible for Luka Samanic to say that.

Luka Samanic stands at 6’11 tall, weighing 227 pounds and with a wingspan of 6’10.5. Last season played for, Slovenia team, Petrol Olimpija and captivated with some performances. Samanic averaged  7.9 points per game on 48% shooting from the field on 5.7 attempts , %21.69 usage rating, 33% from three on 1.6 attempts,%57.1 true shooting,  72% from the free throw line on 2.5 attempts, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 offensive rebounds, 108.4 offensive rating and 108.2 defensive rating in 50 games played and 23 games started. Let’s talk about Samanic basketball style!

First of all, we have to say that he plays with a really great IQ. Which is a little underwhelming you’d like to see that wingspan closer to seven feet  but does not mean that Samanic is bad driver or isolation player. His basketball intelligence is solving this problem; after one-to-one in the forwards  zones, the first step is a little soft because of the wingspan but then he is drive is so smart. In the second step, he changes direction and first breaks his opponent’s defenses here. Then, by taking contact, it changes direction again. This way, the opponent’s defence rotation is take damage. Nice cordination and body control for its size and age, it affects strength.

He doesn’t always finish with a dunk, but Samanic is good athlete. He is really good at driving, using his superior footwork and take a advantage, such as this possession here where he attacks off of the dribble, right-to-left and spin to win at the rim. Especially in the baseline, he is have incredible reverse spin move.

He is have average three point. So has the talent and avarege three point, upside to become a threat on either pick and roll or pick and pop situation. If he did roll, he would use the drive talent we were talking about. If he did pop, he would use the jump shot (usually). But sometimes after the pop, he can looks at the angle for assists. So he can create good spacing. Also, with his cleverly screens and painted field movements; Moves well without the ball, finding the open space on the opponent’s defense.

As in everything, Luka Samanic has some weaknesses about him good game. Although the game always tries to be active, the motor tend to come and go. For this reason, he can lose concentration in the game; as stretches where he just disappears from the game. He’s got a big basketball IQ, but a lack of body can cause problems with the NBA. Especially in switch defense can are affected. Except for the  stars like Paul George, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo; faster players like De Aaron Fox, Jamal Murray, CJ McCollum can be problems for Samanic.

Good ball handler for his size but isn’t good enough to be a wing at this stage and sometimes he choose bad decisions. Handle is a bit high and loose. Not quite comfortable enough to play with his head up when attempting to use advanced moves from the perimeter. Also, he has problems guarding the p&r because of his average side to side quickness and some numbness in the defence.

He has aspects to develop, especially eeds to increase muscle volume and maintain its concentration in the game. But Luka Samanic is 19. And like other talent young players he open for develop. It’s hard for an ambitious team to be the main star. However, it can be one of the strongest side parts of an ambitious team. Ladies and gentlemen, next Europen star: Luka Samanic.

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