San Antonio Spurs: Who is Joffrey Lauvergne?
By Dylan Carter
The San Antonio Spurs have signed free agent Joffrey Lauvergne. The multi-talented center has spent three seasons in the league before landing San Antonio.
In classic San Antonio Spurs fashion, General Manager R.C. Buford found another hidden gem in the free agent pool. Joffrey Lauvergne, a 25-year old Center from France, became an unrestricted free agent when Chicago pulled their qualifying offer.
Just one day later, Buford signed Lauvergne to a new deal in the Alamo City.
In 14 minutes per game, Lauvergne averaged 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. Per 36 minutes, he would average roughly 14 points and nine rebounds.
Free agent center Joffrey Lauvergne has agreed to a deal with the San Antonio Spurs, league sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 10, 2017
Lauvergne brings a large arsenal of skills to San Antonio. He can easily score with a plethora of post skills and has shown signs of a solid outside shot. His stature at 6’11” and 220 lbs will help San Antonio to secure the paint.
In addition to his scoring, Lauvergne has been known as a tenacious rebounder with a knack for grabbing offensive boards. Considering their lack of cap space, it’s likely that bigman Dewayne Dedmon won’t return to San Antonio. Lauvergne was likely scouted to fill a similar role while swapping athleticism for a higher level of skill and IQ.
San Antonio’s affinity for French players hasn’t led them wrong in the past. Legend Tony Parker was drafted out of France and Frenchman Boris Diaw was a key member of the team for many years.
Interestingly, Lauvergne earned a gold medal alongside Parker, Diaw and former Spur Nando De Colo in the 2013 Eurobasket Championship. He also played alongside forward Davis Bertans with Partizan Belgrade. With this in mind, it’s likely that Lauvergne will integrate easily with the San Antonio locker room.
While the contract value has yet to be released, The Vertical’s Shams Charania reported that the deal is for two years.
What This Means for San Antonio
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The addition of Lauvergne opens up lots of doors for San Antonio. His offensive versatility will allow Kawhi Leonard to operate freely while his rebounding will provide valuable support. He can play both Power Forward and Center which allows for Coach Gregg Popovich to experiment with lineups.
Furthermore, the addition of Lauvergne will allow the Spurs to shift their focus toward bringing back old players. Lack of depth on the low block was a big question for the Spurs. With Dedmon, David Lee and Pau Gasol all unrestricted, the San Antonio bigman rotation fell short.
With their remaining cap space, the Spurs can generate new contracts for Gasol, swingman Jonathon Simmons and Longtime-Spur Manu Ginobili.
Quick look at the Spurs' roster assuming Simmons returns and Pau re-signs. Still unclear what type of rotation Pop will use. pic.twitter.com/kB54yJeZRp
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) July 10, 2017
While indirectly, this signing helps to validate the acquisition of Rudy Gay. The swingman unexpectedly joined San Antonio on a two-year deal and brought many questions with him. With their big man issue eased, it makes sense that Buford and Popovich pursued Gay.
In today’s league, it’s necessary to stockpile talent. Bringing in a role player like Lauvergne signifies that San Antonio is prepared to compete with the league’s powerhouses.
His winning mentality can be a fantastic addition to the San Antonio culture. When accounting for the team’s deadly training staff and his high ceiling, Lauvergne could be a breakout player this season.
Next: The Grandeur of Rudy Gay
With guard Bryn Forbes emerging in the Las Vegas Summer League, San Antonio has begun a show of force with their young talent. Lauvergne only reinforces that concept and helps the team become a bit deeper.