3 Lingering Questions from the Spurs' 2021-22 Season

Lonnie Walker, Keita Bates-Diop, Zach Collins
Lonnie Walker, Keita Bates-Diop, Zach Collins / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Jonas Valanciunas, Devontae Cacok / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

2. Why Did Devontae Cacok Not Get Playing Time?

It’s no secret that the Spurs were one piece away from legitimately being a threat in the Western Conference. They needed a real power forward to take the next step, and the undersized Keldon Johnson and Doug McDermott were simply not the guys for the job.

Zach Collins, Drew Eubanks, Thaddeus Young, and Jock Landale are all more traditional centers. It’s a wonder why the Spurs did not make a move to grab a guy who could contribute some meaningful power forward minutes.

Except they wouldn’t have to trade for that guy -- they already had him in their system. Devontae Cacok made 13 appearances for the Spurs this season and showed some real promise as a strong player who can help fill some gaps. 

In his very limited playing time for the Spurs, he averaged 3.2 points and 2.9 rebounds. If you boost his numbers up to 36 minutes, He is at 15.9 points and 14.4 rebounds, along with 2.7 blocks and steals each. Per 36 is an imperfect number because it doesn’t account for increased volume, but it would have been worth it for the Spurs to give him more than 95 total minutes across the season.

Instead of contributing to the Spurs of San Antonio, he lit it up for the Austin squad. He was the second-best rebounder in the entire G League with 11.9 a game and added 18.2 points. He also shot 40% from deep, but on under two attempts per game, it’s impossible to see if he would be a quality floor-spacer. 

Cacok was head and shoulders above his G League competition, so when McDermott went down, it would have only made sense to give the two-way player some extra time as a backup to Keldon Johnson. In Austin, Cacok showed he can put the ball on the floor, drive, and rebound at an elite rate.

Why he wasn’t given any minutes outside of garbage time in the Association baffles me. In the worst- case scenario, he shows he’s not quite there yet. Best-case scenario? The Spurs find another diamond in the rough.