15/04/2024

Jock Landale celebrates after scoring a three for the Boomers. (Photo: NBL/Twitter)

What can Olympic bronze medallist and NBL star Jock Landale add to the San Antonio Spurs?

Reigning NBL 2020-21 Grand Final MVP Jock Landale has signed a two year deal with the San Antonio Spurs, as first reported by NBA Insider Shams Charania.

The deal has been confirmed by Landale’s agency SIG Sports, however it didn’t become official until August 7 when the NBA’s moratorium period concluded.

The announcement was just ten hours removed from the Boomers 38-point demolition of Argentina, where Landale contributed a strong 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The 25-year-old will have to farewell his Melbourne United teammates as he looks set to make a mark on the NBA.

Landale has been a main-stay in the Boomers lineup since his emergence in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. In the wake of his Olympics campaign, Landale has captured the eyes of the basketball world with his stellar skill-set on display for the global audience.

Averaging an impressive 13.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and two assists for the Boomers, the 6″11 centre/forward caught the attention of NBA scouts, not for the first time in his young career.

Landale (25) had previously signed for the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks in seperate Summer League deals over the 2018 and 2019 off-seasons. It was in the 2019 Summer League where Landale began to turn heads as he posted a notable 18 points and seven rebounds in four games with the Bucks.

He chose to return to the Lithuian Basketball League with reigning champions Zalgiris Kaunas, before terminating his deal in December 2020 to return home for Melbourne United.

Jock starred for the eventual NBL champions, winning Melbourne’s MVP award before starring in the finals campaign which saw him awarded Grand Final MVP.

How does he fit in the Spurs’ system?

The once powerhouse Spurs that had dominated portions of the last 20 years of the NBA are on a rapid decline and look destined to enter a rebuild. With the departure of stars like LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Aussie Patty Mills, Gregg Popovich’s men are looking a lot younger heading into the 2021-22 NBA season.

San Antonio has moved on from its glory years with all-time legends like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard to a youthful lineup with players including Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Tre Jones, and now Jock Landale.

The most interesting part of the Spurs’ capture of Landale is their notable depth at the forward/centre position. With Jakob Poeltl (25), Drew Eubanks (23) and Luka Samanic (21) secured until at least the end of 2023 and the signing of Blazers forward Zach Collins until 2024, Landale may struggle to crack the rotation for the early stages of the season.

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The Spurs have been very active in the off-season, and may look to secure more rotational pieces, much to the disappointment of Boomers’ fans.

However, given the unique skill set of the near seven-footer and the Spurs’ history of signing talented international players, Landale is sure to secure some playing time with a team that is looking towards the future.

Jock is the mould for what NBA teams look for when securing players in the front court, an athletic three-level scorer that can get their own shot whilst helping their teammates on both ends of the court.

Looking back at the recent history of Spurs’ front court players, Landale fits the criteria and will be bound to cause Popovich some selection headaches.

One of the most notable factors of the Spurs’ offence is a fast paced style where the ball is moved almost non-stop. With Landale’s improvement in the playmaking department, it is clear to see why San Antonio identified him as itsr man.

What do the experts say?

Australian basketball legend Andrew Bogut has mentioned his work with Landale after their time together at the 2019 World Cup.

Bogut stated that his defence is his most improved aspect of his game, whilst mentioning that Landale has spent countless hours picking the brain of the former number one overall draft pick.

It has been very evident that Landale’s work with Bogut has paid off big time as he looks to secure a full-time spot in the Spurs’ rotation.

San Antonio’s head coach Gregg Popovich has had a close look at Landale over the past couple of years with his role as Team USA head coach. Landale and ‘Popp’ faced off for the fifth time in two years in the Boomers’ quarter final clash with the USA.

Popovich has made a name for himself for unearthing diamonds in the rough as he helped construct the Spurs dynasty, with names like Parker, Ginobili and Kawhi all coming to the Spurs as otherwise unknowns.

The question has to be asked; can Landale add his name to the ever-growing list of San Antonio greats?

Landale looks bound to fit into the front court as a ‘position-less big man’ who will float around the paint and three-point line, a perfect fit for the youthful Spurs. With his ability to spread the floor whilst maintaining his abilities to put the ball on the floor, he is sure to crack the rotation at some point this season.

With the NBA Summer League well underway, Landale may find himself amongst the other hopefuls of the NBA coming into the season proper.

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