How Joshua Primo, the youngest player and biggest surprise of the 2021 NBA Draft, can fit in with the Spurs

With marked advancements in scouting networks around the globe, more data than ever before and a constant stream of reports about what teams are thinking, there are few real surprises in the NBA Draft anymore. A player might go a bit higher or lower than expected, but the home run swings out of nowhere are much less common than they were in years past.

We got one this summer, however, when the San Antonio Spurs selected Joshua Primo — the youngest player in the draft — out of the University of Alabama with the No. 12 overall pick. None of our three experts at CBS Sports had Primo in the first round on their mock drafts, let alone the lottery, and even Primo admitted he was surprised he went so high.

“Going that high wasn’t something that I was — I don’t know if I was ready for that,” Primo said at his draft party. “I didn’t realize it was going to be that high. But I’m glad it’s with the Spurs. I’ve always wanted to be a Spur. I told my agent when I first got into this process, ‘That’s where I want to be.’ And it ended up working out that way, so it was great.”

In 30 games at Alabama, Primo averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds, while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from downtown. Most analysts saw the pick as a reach, and it was widely regarded as one of the worst of the draft. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish gave it a C+, which was tied for his worst grade of the first round.