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Work to be done | Cutting down on turnovers is key for Spurs rookie Joshua Primo

Austin Spurs head coach talks about what Primo needs to adapt to on the pro-level.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Spurs rookie Joshua Primo is looking like he will excel on the NBA stage.

Through 20 games played in San Antonio, he is posting 4.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 34% shooting from the three-point line.

In the G League, he is putting up monster numbers at 17.3 points per game, 3.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 30.9 minutes played with the Austin Spurs. 

But like all young players, the 19-year old has an area that needs to be cleaned up: Turnovers.

For as much as Primo is doing great in Austin, he is turning the ball over at 4.8 per game. That's a turnover rate of 23.1%.

And Austin head coach, Petar Bozic, is looking for Primo to use his time with the team to work on this aspect of his game.

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"I think that's exactly what he's getting with this experience playing in the G League," said Bozic on Primo getting time to clean up his game in Austin.

Primo's high turnover rate is just a sign he still has room to improve. 

He needs more time to adjust to the NBA game, learning to facilitate in the pro-ranks, and how much physicality is involved.

Credit: AP
San Antonio Spurs' Josh Primo celebrates after a three-point basket during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

"[He's] playing through physicality and to take care of the ball better now [in the G League]," Bozic.

In Austin's recent win over the Vipers, Primo turned the ball over a team-high seven times in 33 minutes. 

The good news is this is something Primo can and will likely clean up as his budding NBA career gets going.

"It helped a lot. Especially being on the ball," Primo said about his time with Austin. "It helped me feel a lot more comfortable bringing the ball up the floor. Coming off the screen. Making reads."

And Primo agrees with Bozic that Austin is the place to clean things up.

"It's just been great getting those reps and coming into here [San Antonio] knowing that it's the same game and I've been repping this out for a while now," said Primo.

RELATED: 'It helped a lot' | Spurs rookie Joshua Primo appreciates time spent in Austin

Keep in mind that Primo is getting a lot more time with the ball in his hand, and the freedom to try things in the G League. That will lend to his high turnovers, but that does not discount his massive potential.

He made history on Dec. 7 when he recorded four blocks and three steals against the Suns. He joined Dwight Howard to accomplish such a feat.

Also, at the 2021 NBA Summer League, Primo showed flashes of what he can do on the floor appearing in four games and averaged 14.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes.

There's plenty to be excited about Primo once he lands a permanent spot on the San Antonio bench.

But until then, there's work to be done to polish this young, promising NBA player.

"He had turnovers today and a point of emphasis for his future is to play through that physicality," Bozic said.

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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