Everything went right for the San Antonio Spurs against the LA Clippers on Monday, and it wasn't a coincidence that minutes from a new backup center option sparked some runs.
Since sending Jock Landale to the Austin Spurs briefly for some re-conditioning, the Spurs have been giving more playing time to their Australian center. Fans and teammates alike are both enjoying the extended minutes for the 26-year-old rookie, who scored eight points and shot 2-for-2 from downtown against the Clippers.
Dejounte Murray worked particularly well with Landale in the pick and roll in the win, connecting with him on a top-of-the-key three before finding him for a rolling dunk soon after.
Jock Landale Minutes Were a Long Time Coming
At Air Alamo, we've been vocal about Landale needing to get more minutes all season long. At the end of October, I dedicated a whole article questioning Coach Popovich about the oversight. As Spurs fans are starting to see, having a stretch big like Landale on the floor has its perks.
After San Antonio's dominant win, Murray took to the Spurs' official Instagram to express his delight with Landale's game.
"HES SOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!" said Murray in response to a photo of Landale knocking down an open three. "That pick and roll with Mr. Triple-double is going to be deadly," said a fan in response.
Dejounte is one of the most active social media users on the team and always seems to have a purpose to his posts related to Spurs basketball. Right away, many within Spurs Twitter began to speculate whether he was unofficially giving his endorsement for who Coach Popovich should play more at the backup center position.
It's hard not to see Murray wanting to work more with a floor-spreader like Landale, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's some truth to this being an unofficial endorsement. Still, Dejounte is a gamer and will be able to elevate the game of any center he's paired with on the court.
In the last two games, Landale has received the most minutes he's ever had in his Spurs' career, first setting a new high with 11 and then passing it with 14 on Monday. If he keeps up his high level of play, the backup center spot could start to become more of a permanent position.