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Jock Landale powers the Austin Spurs to victory over the Texas Legends

The Australian rookie puts on a memorable encore to his stellar debut performance.

Austin Spurs v Texas Legends Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Austin Spurs downed the Texas Legends 116-105 on Saturday night, going blow for blow with their interstate rival before pulling ahead down the stretch. Although they dug themselves into an early deficit, the Silver and Black leaned on their defense to get them back into the contest and fed Jock Landale in the post in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.

Jock paced the Spurs with 28 points, six boards, and four assists, closely followed by 20 points, 12 rebounds, and three dimes from two-way center Devontae Cacok. Backup point guard Jayvon Graves also exploded for 20 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists off the bench, falling just short of the oh-so elusive G League triple-double.

Joe Wieskamp (0 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists on 0-of-6 shooting)

There aren’t many good things to say about what Joe Wieskamp did in his latest outing with the Austin Spurs. The rookie marksman was pushed out of his comfort zone as the Texas Legends chased him off the three-point line and forced him to make plays off the dribble. Even when he escaped initial pressure from defenders, it was clear Wieskamp was looking to get the ball out of his hands.

Though Wieskamp ended the evening scoreless on a 0-of-6 performance from the field, his off-ball movement remained crisp, and his presence as a long-distance threat afforded Austin better spacing. Even when the six-six swingman found a sliver of daylight on the perimeter, he couldn’t seem to buy a bucket, and even the best three-point shooters have a dud from time to time.

Head coach Petar Božić benched Wieskamp for Jayvon Graves with 6:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, and his poor play on the other end is what ultimately cost him minutes. There haven’t been many instances where his Draft Combine measurements have translated to the hardwood. Quicker guards blew by the Iowa alumnus, and he got caught ball-watching on a few possessions, which led to a pair of uncontested layups on backdoor cuts.

Josh Primo (9 points, 4 assists, and 3 blocks on 4-of-15 shooting)

Primo struggled upon returning to the G League following a brief stint with the big league club, though adjusting from a predominantly off-ball role in San Antonio to a full-time on-ball creator with Austin probably didn’t help his cause. The rookie looked indecisive as a playmaker, delivering passes a few seconds too late, prematurely killing his dribble, and turning the ball over.

An off-night that saw him shoot 4-of-15 from the field only compounded his downfalls as a playmaker, but there were more than a few flashes of why San Antonio bet on the 18-year-old inside the lottery. Primo ran the pick-and-roll to perfection on a couple of occasions, leveraging his pull-up jumper to create windows before firing pin-point pocket passes to his roll-men.

The Canadian combo guard showed his inexperience, going airborne on a few ball fakes, but his defensive playing potential was undeniable. Primo was more than willing to put his body on the line in transition to draw an offensive foul, and he used his six-nine wingspan, impeccable instincts, and quick feet to stay attached to his man and block three shots at the rim.

Devontae Cacok (20 Points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists on 8-of-13 shooting)

San Antonio’s two-way contract signee has consistently been one of the brightest spots for their G League affiliate all season. The undersized big man sets sturdy screens, makes unselfish passes, cleans the glass with a passion, defends several positions, invites contact around the basket, and operates as a reliable roll-man for the numerous developing playmakers on the roster.

Cacok brought more of that same versatility on Saturday night, doing a bit of everything for the Austin Spurs as they dispatched the Texas Legends. Not only did the former undrafted center reel in three offensive boards, but he got to the charity stripe four times and set up Jock Landale with a couple of excellent entry passes while cutting down on his turnovers and personal fouls.

Devontae may not have a trustworthy three-point jumper or otherworldly athleticism. But he makes good use of his 240-pound frame and feathery-soft touch around the basket to generate efficient offense. There aren’t many frontcourt players who are comfortable switching onto guards and handling the ball in the open court, and if it translates to the next level, that could make him a rotational big.

Jock Landale (28 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists on 10-of-13 shooting)

Landale was fantastic for Austin as he dominated the Legends on his way to a team-high 28 points. The Australian center started a little slower on Saturday night but broke free for 15 points in the fourth quarter. Jock got his buckets on a medley of hook shots, put-backs, three-point jumpers, and free throw opportunities, and he continued demonstrating a knack for making impressive passes from the paint.

Despite his impressive showing as a go-to scorer, Landale was an unmistakable defensive liability as the Legends targeted him throughout the game. The 26-year-old big man looked like a wacky wavy inflatable man when he found himself switched onto guards, and his lack of footspeed and lateral mobility left him helpless when ballhandlers got downhill against him in drop coverage.

As was the case in the previous matchup, the positive far outweighed the negative, and the San Antonio Spurs must have felt the same way as they recalled the six-eleven rookie from the G League. Those defensive flaws might heighten versus NBA competition. However, Jock should benefit on the other end with less attention devoted to stopping him and Dejounte Murray feeding him the ball.