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

The G League experience is paying off for the Spurs' rookie.

SAN ANTONIO — Spurs' Joshua Primo is seeing more time in San Antonio rather than in the G League with the Austin Spurs at this point in his rookie season.

A combination of the team getting hit with COVID and the G League's season being temporarily suspended has created an opportunity for Primo to get some NBA reps. But, he's not forgetting the value of playing with the Austin Spurs.

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

Primo is taking full advantage of minutes with San Antonio. 

In the team's recent loss to the Raptors, he finished with a career-high 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 28 minutes. 

But just like any other rookie, there are still steps to take, especially under Gregg Popovich.

Popovich and the Spurs covet the G League process. 

From Keldon Johnson to Dejounte Murray and many others in between, the Austin Spurs experience is what is usually in store for Spurs rookies.

So, it should not be a surprise to anyone should Primo takes the drive up highway I-35 North as the season moves forward.

“He’s really good, but you have that value sort of equation in what will make him grow the quickest and the most solid,” Popovich said recently. “If I could really do what I wanted to do and I didn’t care about anything else in the world, I would throw him in the frying pan the way we did Tony Parker.”

But while he is in San Antonio, his teammate and mentor, Devin Vassell, urges Primo to seize the minutes and make the most of it.

"I just tell him to stay confident. Stay ready. Stay prepared," Vassell said. "When his number is called, he has to make sure he is ready."

RELATED: 'I just tell him to stay confident' | Spurs' Vassell urging rookie Josh Primo to be ready

On Dec. 7, Primo recorded four blocks and three steals against the Suns. He joined Dwight Howard (2004) as the only two 18-year-olds ever in NBA history with four-plus blocks and three-plus steals in a game.

He displays a level of maturity not found in many 19-year old pro-basketball players.

“Joshua has an uncanny maturity about him, kind of a steady demeanor,” Popovich said. “He is not awed by the NBA or anything like that."

If and when Primo gets back to Austin, he won't see it as a step back, but continued steps forward in his development.

It's a reflection of the maturity Popovich sees in the team's rookie.

"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.

And just like a season-pro, Primo says he'll continue to work on his game, specifically his court vision with the Austin Spurs, should he get assigned in the future.

"Keeping my head up," said Primo. "Just making sure I am seeing the whole floor."

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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