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Spurs' Joshua Primo hasn't forgotten his Austin Spurs roots

"We know how important it [Austin Spurs] has been to all of our careers," said Primo.

SAN ANTONIO — As the second half of the season got going, minutes for Spurs rookie Joshua Primo spiked and he saw himself in the starting lineup for 12-straight games.

For the 19-year old, that is valuable NBA developmental time but it is the G League experience he'll never forget that helped propel him and other Spurs in their pro career.

"It just shows you how much we value Austin," Primo said. "How much we valued that time in the G League."

Primo made the most of his Austin time.

He led the team with 5.4 assists per game including leading the team in steals (1.6 per game) and finished fourth in scoring at 16.7 points per game in seven games played with Austin.

Credit: NBAE

And he isn't the only Spur to benefit from the Austin Spurs.

Zach Collins used the G League to get back into playing at a high level after being away from basketball for nearly two years due to a foot injury. 

Jock Landale played with Austin to hone his skills averaging 27.0 points per game while Spurs rookie Joe Wieskamp averaged 17.1 points per game and shot 37% from the three-point line in 15 games played.

RELATED: Spurs rookie Wieskamp not rushing the process and focusing on development

Needless to say, Austin provided the needed platform for Primo and his teammates to develop the skills needed to thrive in the NBA.

"Being able to work on our skills and gain that confidence from being able to go over it again and again," Primo said. "Play through mistakes and just continue to get better."

And getting better is exactly what Primo did over the second half of the San Antonio season. 

In 20 games played following the NBA midseason break, he averaged 24.4 minutes per game, 7.1 points per game, 2.3 rebounds per game, and 1.8 assists per game.

RELATED: Q&A with Josh Primo: Becoming the primary ball handler, Austin Spurs and more

Primo can credit his G League time for pushing his development forward along with Austin Spurs head coach, Petar Bozic, who still is urging him to improve his defense and remains a positive influence.

"He congratulates me on big games and things like that," said Primo. "But he's always on my about my defense whenever I slack. He's on me for it, as all the coaches are, and I appreciate that from him."

Credit: AP
San Antonio Spurs guard Joshua Primo (11) celebrates a dunk during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, April 1, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner)

The rookie plays with confidence and oozes untapped potential that the Spurs will certainly see unfold as he gets seasoned.

"He's terrific, in my opinion," Austin Spurs alum Lonnie Walker IV said. "He knows the assignment. He knows the game plan. He's not just there looking lost. He's within the team."

RELATED: Spurs' Lonnie Walker IV gives his assessment of rookie Joshua Primo

Primo had his fair share of ups and downs as expected from a 19-year old professional player.

Bad shooting nights and teams targeting him on the court all lend to his growth but what he's done in his rookie season is eye-catching.

On Dec. 7, 2021, he recorded four blocks and three steals against the Suns becoming the only two 18-year-olds ever in NBA history with 4-plus blocks and 3-plus steals in a game in league history.

RELATED: 'He will always surprise me' | Rookie Josh Primo is keeping Austin Spurs head coach on his toes

He is the fourth-youngest foreign-born player to score 200 points in his NBA career and joined only three rookies in Spurs history with 4-plus blocks and 3-plus steals in a game: David Robinson and Greg Anderson.

There's plenty of room for growth for the rookie guard but the lessons learned in Austin will always stay with him.

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

"We know how important it [Austin Spurs] has been to all of our careers and I think that will continue to go on as long as the Spurs are around," said Primo.

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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