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'You can see he's very confident' | Zach Collins is impressed with Spurs rookie Primo

The Austin Spurs teammates could be sharing the San Antonio court soon.

SAN ANTONIO — As part of Spurs' Zach Collins' path to returning to the NBA after injuries derailed him, he spent time in the G League with the Austin Spurs.

There, he tested his surgically repaired ankle, got in his reconditioning, and got a first-hand look at just how good his new San Antonio teammate, rookie Joshua Primo can be. 

"He came in here pretty level-headed," Collins said. "He came in pretty composed."

Through five regular-season games played in Austin, Primo is showing he is ready for the pro-ranks.

He's averaging 18.6 points per game, 47% shooting, 50% three-point shooting, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 5.0 assists.

And Primo is taking full advantage of the time in the G League.

"It [Austin Spurs] 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."

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

As the Spurs season moves forward, Primo is seeing more time in San Antonio rather than in the G League.

A combination of injuries and COVID-19 issues are allowing the guard to get invaluable NBA minutes and he is shining on the NBA court.

"He's played against a lot of really good competition especially when San Antonio was going through some COVID issues," Collins said. "He was brought up and he did really well."

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

There are many eye-catching aspects to Primo's game. 

He isn't afraid to take the big shot as he showed in a road game versus the Nets this season with a three-point shot to force overtime. He has a knack to hit the pull-up three-point shot and plays stellar defense.

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

Credit: AP
San Antonio Spurs' Joshua Primo, left, goes up for the shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 119-100. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

In short, Primo oozes confidence, whether he is in Austin or San Antonio.

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.

In the team's Jan.4 loss to the Raptors, he finished with a career-high 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 28 minutes. He also had an impressive outing against the Suns on Jan. 29 with 13 points, three rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes.

Recently, Primo shook off a foul-plagued game and go on to score 14 of his 20 points in eight minutes to help propel Austin to the 119-97 win over the Skyforce.

RELATED: Spurs rookie Primo overcomes foul trouble to propel Austin to G League victory

"You can see he's very confident," Collins said. "He's making good reads and responding well to adversity during a game."

Collins is now available for the Spurs and could make his return to the NBA against the Rockets Friday night at the AT&T Center. He'll be suiting up alongside his Austin teammate, but this time, on the NBA stage.

And if Primo showcases his immense upside, it won't be too much of a surprise to the Spurs big man.

"Those are all things we saw before, but obviously playing against better competition, you're going to continue to look better," Collins said.

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5

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