San Antonio Spurs: What does Jock Landale bring to SAS?

Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images /

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Australia center Jock Landale has signed a two-year deal in NBA free agency with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs have a rich history of signing Australians, most notably Patty Mills, the recently-departed 10-year Spurs veteran and 2014 Champion. That title team also included Aron Baynes, while Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal were both Spurs in the late ’90s early 2000’s – and two of the greatest Australian basketball players ever who all played under Gregg Popovich.

Landale is a 25-year-old center 6’11” center coming off a championship season with Melbourne United; where he won the NBL’s Finals MVP in a 3-0 sweep against the Perth Wildcats. Landale averaged 16.4 points per game (54.6% FG, 39.2% 3pt, 3.7 3pa), 7.9 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game 1.5 blocks per game last season.

The San Antonio Spurs have signed Australian center Jock Landale. The big man is currently playing in Toyko but what does he bring to the Spurs?

He’s the modern big, he can switch on the perimeter and defend the ring.  While playmaking well for a center plus stretching the floor and punishing switches on post-ups.

The big Aussie has spent multiple years over in Europe and likely would have been in the NBA earlier if not for a gluttonous buy-out clause. United gave him an escape from the contract where he proved to be the best center in the NBL – which included the likes of Jarell Martin, Cameron Oliver, and Issac Humpries (all being either current or past NBA players).

Landale, like many Australians, has been a staple of the Australian ‘Boomers’ national team for the past couple of years. Landale made his senior debut in 2019 with the FIBA World Cup campaign and currently is the center for the Boomers in their Tokyo Olympic run. Landale is currently averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 21.4 minutes across four games in Tokyo (stats taken prior to the semi-final against Team USA).

How does Landale fit with the Spurs?

The Spurs have had a spattering of different bigs since Tim Duncan retired and it’s been a weakness since. LaMarcus Aldridge was a scorer but not a defender and Jakob Poeltl is extremely underrated as a defender but is not a scoring threat outside the paint.

Landale gives you the best of both worlds, obviously not as Tim Duncan did though. Landale gives you an all-around half-court scoring threat, while also being a serviceable and or very good overall defender at the NBA level.

Landale told ESPN’s Olgun Uluc how he believes he fits on an NBA team:

"“I think, going into an NBA team, they… will be like: ‘get out there, defend, run hard in transition, rebound, and shoot open shots’. That’s the kind of basketball I think I can really excel in and do at a high level.”"

Given his age and impressive resume already it’s easy to see why Landale is being given a two-year deal. If his game translates (which I think it will), Landale will be a backup center playing significant minutes in a rebuilding Spurs roster.

The thing that should excite Spurs fans most (and do try to watch him in Tokyo) is the two-way capabilities of the foul-mouthed Australian. If all goes right the San Antonio Spurs could have a productive two-way big for many years to come on the timeline of their current core.

Next. Where Pistons stand on third day of free agency. dark