Joffrey Lauvergne had the game of his life against the Denver Nuggets, scoring a career-high 26 points. Just how rare was scoring even 20 points for the San Antonio Spurs center?
Tuesday’s game vs. the Denver Nuggets saw Joffrey Lauvergne, gaining minutes from LaMarcus Aldridge’s injury, step up and put on the performance of his life: 26 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block on 12-for-15 shooting in 24 minutes. The 26 points was both a season and career-high for Lauvergne, and he had not exceeded 10 rebounds in the 2017-18 season.
The French big man topping 20 points was as unusual as anything he’s done in three-plus years in the NBA. Plenty of games, mostly with the Nuggets in 2015-16, saw him score 10 or more points in 26 of 59 games played. However, just one of them saw him reach the 20-point plateau, marking the first and only time he accomplished this.
Well, after a career-best performance in Denver, Lauvergne topped this point total for just the second time in his career, out of 150 games played. It’s somewhat surprising this barely happened before, given his extended run as a backup for the Nuggets, including topping 20 minutes 23 times.
Will this push Lauvergne into a bigger role for the Spurs? Probably not. Although it depends on injuries. Aldridge will be back; Gasol is healthy; Rudy Gay could be back soon. Even with injuries, head coach Gregg Popovich has mostly kept his backup center at the end of the bench, losing playing time to Davis Bertans, who recently became a starter. Unless he goes down, too, it’s difficult to think Lauvergne’s big game will not be anything more than a blip on the radar.
Opportunities like this can help the 26-year old’s future value, given his right to become a free agent this summer. He can exercise an opt-out clause. Of course, more high-point performances would be needed to establish more value in free agency, so there are ways to go, but with an injury popping up every week, maybe there will be a chance to shine.