Injuries cut Landry Fields’ playing career short, but his NBA journey may just be getting started. The 28-year-old former Knick and Raptor is joining the Spurs as a college scout this season and, going by the organization’s success in churning out front-office talent, it looks like a smart long-term move for the former Stanford standout.
Spurs U has been the jumping point for executives like current Thunder and Nets GMs Sam Presti and Sean Marks, as well as former Hawks GM Danny Ferry. Presti began as an intern with the Spurs (as a 24-year-old scout, he’s credited with influencing the team’s drafting of Tony Parker), while Ferry and Marks are former players that both joined in higher-level capacities.
As a team that often relies on lower draft picks, San Antonio will be leaning on Fields’ ability to identify the type of lesser-known talent that he himself was coming out of college.
Selected midway through the second round of the 2010 draft, Fields had an instant impact as a rookie on a New York Knicks team that won 13 games more than the year before, averaging 9.7 points, 6.4 boards and 39.3% three-point shooting on his way to First Team All Rookie honors. His outside shot dropped significantly in 2011-12, but he remained a key rotation player for New York as they made the playoffs again. That Knicks season is probably best remembered for Linsanity, and it was Landry Fields’ couch that Lin famously crashed on the night before that fever kicked off.
Fields became a restricted free agent in 2012, signing with the Raptors for three years and $20 million, but injuries to his shooting arm prevented him from being the 3-and-D force Toronto hoped for.
Now, one season removed from playing his last professional game, Fields will move from the NBA court to the college sidelines, helping the Spurs continue to restock their young talent. He’s a west coast guy which, oddly enough, plays right into where the Spurs’ highest-profile players have come from as of late: they took Kawhi Leonard out of San Diego State in 2011, Kyle Anderson out of UCLA in 2014, and Dejounte Murray this year.
More than that though, Fields seems like a quintessential Spurs hire: a high-character, savvy basketball mind, with a pretty good sense of humor. Here’s hoping he finds new success with the silver and black.