The reports of Adam Hanga finally making the jump to San Antonio this summer to join the Spurs somewhat came out of nowhere. At the start of the year and through most of the season, everyone expected this to be his last with Baskonia in Spain but not a whole lot was actually said about his impending move here in Europe. Even when he, rather surprisingly, was named Euroleague defensive MVP his likely move wasn’t a point of discussion. Instead everyone else was wondering how Ekpe Udoh didn’t win it.
Like Nikola Militunov, I’ll put together a much deeper look at Hanga over at BallinEurope next month, because my summer seems destined to exist solely of Euros probably heading to San Antonio (Milos Teodosic is still an option folks).
Right now, it’s time to look at what you would obviously get with Hanga. He’s got oodles of energy and plenty of talent but don’t expect him to start except when Pop drops one of his DNP-Old for a vet. Instead he’ll fit a good situational role.
That energy aspect is a massive positive for the 28-year old Hungarian. His motor makes you think he’s nearer 22, and it’s shot prevention that he specialises in. You’ll get the odd highlight reel block and he’ll chip in a solid amount of rebounds but the big plus really comes in forcing opponents into poor positions or wearing down the clock. Hanga’s a pressure player and that’s not a bad thing to have coming off the bench when you are trying to run deep.
There’s been clear progression in Hanga’s game as well year-in year-out. Two seasons ago someone in my chair would have said he has a chance to be a role player in the NBA. A year ago, I’d have said he’s good enough to find somewhere to fit in. Now, it would genuinely be a huge surprise if he doesn’t offer a clear upside to any side never mind a fit as good as the Spurs.
The Euro-friendliness of the Spurs and the franchise’s history of looking to get real minutes out of bench players sells them well in Europe as much as their actual success. Players from here, despite all the significant regional and cultural boundaries, know that when they go to San Antonio they are going to a team that will find a fit for them. Mentally that upside really can’t be overstated and the likes of Hanga will have noticed the contracts other Euros who had short stints in San Antonio, like Marco Belinelli and Boban Marjanovic got once they departed the Spurs.
That doesn’t make Hanga a gun for hire, it makes him smart. He knows that he could go to a place where, as a 28-year old, he can maximize his value to hang around in the NBA for a while.
He’s also coming into the side from the best possible situation. Baskonia’s a small market side, one box ticked, with a serious fan base, second, which has a creative front office, that’s a third, and plays in the Spanish ACB which is easily the best national league outside of the NBA on the planet. Throw in the Euroleague experience he’s built up and you’ve got a guy coming from the ideal building scenario for the Spurs.