Spurs take teens Samanic, Johnson to open NBA draft
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 21, 2019 10:05 AM
Luka Samanic, of Croatia, walks onstage after the San Antonio Spurs selected him as the 19th overall pick in the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
By Raul Dominguez, Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs selected Croatian power forward Luka Samanic with the 19th overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) and then added Kentucky wing player Keldon Johnson 10 picks later, adding a pair of 19-year-olds.
Samanic is a 6-foot-10 power forward who played for Petrol Olimpija last season, where he averaged 7.96 points and shot 34% from 3-point range. The 6-foot-6 Johnson averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in his lone season for the Wildcats.
San Antonio acquired the 29th pick from Toronto as part of the trade for Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs also had the 49th selection during the second round.
The Spurs are rebuilding after the franchise was turned upside down last offseason after relenting to Leonard’s trade demand and sending him and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl. Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP after leading Toronto to the franchise’s first championship.
San Antonio had two picks in the first round for the first time since 1987, when they selected David Robinson first overall and Greg Anderson at No. 23.
The Spurs were without a lottery pick for the 22nd consecutive season, the longest streak in the NBA history. San Antonio has made the playoffs 23 straight seasons despite that.