|Croatia||6’11” 209||Power Forward||Union Olimpija||DOB: 1/9/00|
|7.6 ppg||4.6 rpg||0.9 apg||FG: 48.1%||3 PT: 31.9%|
NBA Comparison: Andrei Kirilenko
Strengths: Athleticism, Size, Agility/Mobility, Attacking the basket
Weaknesses: Strength, Efficiency, Length
Samanic started his career playing for the second tier Barcelona team before heading to Petrol Olimpija which plays in the Adriatic League. As a young player he started almost half of the games, showing off a versatile offense game that had scouts intrigued with his potential going forward, especially after he most recently measured in at 6’11”. In the open court he was able to find an open spot for a catch and shoot situation, or he can lead the break finishing at the rim. As an athlete he is solid, with a good vertical, and at his size Samanic moves very well up and down the court. He can score with a crafty inside game as well as driving to the basket from the wing. Showing potential with his back to the basket and using his mobility to get by slower players made him a mismatch against lesser talented competition. While the ABA league is not the best competition you can get overseas, there are solid players and many future pros have started their career in that way, so his numbers at his age were impressive averaging 7.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 18 minutes. With his ability to get up and down the floor and being a versatile scorer his offensive game translates well to the speed of the NBA. Samanic passes well for a big, and with him being projected to play both inside the paint and on the wing at times he will need this skill going forward.
His strength will be an issue weighing just 209 pounds and primarily playing the power forward position. He will need to add bulk if he is going to be able to defend at the NBA level. Samanic has measured in with a 6’10” and 6’11” wingspan at different times which is less than most of the draft prospects in that height range, so some teams will see that as a concern. His defense as a whole will be a big question mark and he will need coaching in that area of his game, however there will be teams that believe with his athleticism and agility he can become a solid defender. Outside shooting is an aspect of his game that is a work in progress as far as becoming a highly efficient three point shooter, but the signs are there that he has the capable of doing that. He averaged 31.9% on the season from deep, however he shot the ball very well in the Slovenian League part of their schedule shooting it at 39.4% in 16 games. His shooting mechanics are solid showing no flaws, and it is a natural release as well as knocking down free throws at a solid 72.4% for the season. As with any young European prospect there are questions with how well he will adjust to the increased talent level, and it is a gamble with how teams project their future, but with Samanic the size and skill set are there for a team to take a chance on his potential.
Here are a few highlight plays that show his versatile game:
Luka Samanic mit dem kompletten Paket: Shooting, Drives & Dunks, Switch Defense. pic.twitter.com/BA7hAE58m9— ABabst (@BabstMadness) July 28, 2018
These dunks gives you an idea of his athletic ability:
Samanic is projected anywhere from the late first round to being undrafted. With him possibly being a draft pick that might still play overseas next season, his potential value will vary from team to team based on how quickly they think he can compete at the NBA level. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level wing being able to score the ball at an above average rate and becoming a solid defender who can block shots. The worst case scenario for Samanic is that he is unable to adjust to the increased talent level and be an effective enough scorer at the NBA level to earn significant minutes, leading him to head back overseas after getting his chance at sticking in the league.