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Getting to know Jock Landale, who may be the Spurs best acquisition of 2021

The latest San Antonio signing is coming from overseas, and even if you’ve never heard of him, don’t be surprised if he catches your eye next season

Olympics: Basketball-Men Group B AUS - ITA Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I understand the majority of you are staring at the headline trying to figure out who in the world is Jock Landale. Well as a fellow Australian and writer here at Pounding the Rock, let me indulge you in the world of Landale.

Shams Charania was the first to report the news, as the Australian center, Jock Landale signed a two year deal with the San Antonio Spurs. So who is he? Landale is a 25 year old, 6’11” big out of Australia who has played internationally for the majority of his young career. Landale did go to college in the United States as he attended Saint Mary’s (same university as Patty Mills) where he completed all 4 years before declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft. Jock would end up going undrafted, in which he described later as having left a “filthy taste in my mouth”. He would go overseas, first to Partizan, then Zalgris where he became LKL champion before returning to Australia to play in the NBL for his hometown team, Melbourne United.

His career and progression skyrocketed last year playing in Melbourne as he eventually become an NBL champion while winning the MVP in the finals. Unlike the NBA, the NBL prioritizes team play as opposed to isolation heavy offense. Less three pointers are shot, and the big man is used in offensive sets a lot more than in the States. Landale shined in this type of play as he went on to average 16.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 62 percent from the floor and a whopping 39 percent from three on 3.6 attempts a game.

In the time since he left Saint Mary’s, Landale has also been a huge part of the Australian national team set up and is currently starting for the Boomers as they advance through the Olympics basketball tournament; he and the Boomers are slated to play his new club head coach, Gregg Popovich, and the United States national team in the semi finals on Wednesday.

So what type of player are the Spurs getting in Landale? Well, the Australian is an inside-outside big who has skills to score in the post while being able to stretch the floor and shoot from three. This allows Landale to have versatility on offense as he can play at the 4 or 5. Due to his great shooting he can be a good fit next to non shooting bigs, like Jakob Poeltl in San Antonio’s case. He’s also an underrated defender as not only is he an above average rim protector, but he has pretty decent lateral quickness, which allows him to switch on the perimeter against smaller guys and do a decent job at staying in front. One thing Landale is guaranteed to do is rebound the ball. Whether on the offensive or defensive end, expect him to be barreling in to try and get a rebound.

Perhaps the best part about him is his supreme confidence. Like a lot of Australians, he is not afraid of expressing himself, even if it could come across as arrogant at times. Landale truly believes he belongs in the NBA, and there is no doubt he will play like that when he gets his chance in these next two seasons. Jock is going to be a great fit for the Spurs not just on the floor, but also in the locker room because of his loud and infectious personality.

For San Antonio, this deal makes sense. Even though the details of his contact haven’t been released, we can assume with the fact that the Spurs had only 6 million left in cap room after sign-and-trade of DeMar DeRozan, that the Landale deal will be for less than that. This would be a great value deal for San Antonio due to the upside Landale has at just 25 years old.

Even though the Australian born center has never played in the NBA, his skill set along with his foremost confidence should give you a clue that this deal just might work out in San Antonio’ favor. If you want to see what I’m talking about, check out Matisse Thybulle’ Olympic vlogs (episodes 2 & 3) where Landale has featured so you can get to know him a bit better.