Spurs' Jock Landale Explains How He Handles Lack of Playing Time Frustration
By Josh Paredes
Jock Landale worked hard to make it to the NBA, and he's not about to let limited playing time with the San Antonio Spurs spoil his experience.
As I recapped before the season, contract issues caused the 6-11 center to remain playing overseas longer than he expected, making him more determined than ever to prove himself in the best league in the world. Now that he's cracked a spot in the NBA, he's learning he'll need to be patient once again before he can make a real impact.
Landale joined fellow NBA champion and fellow Australian Andrew Bogut on his podcast, Rogue Bogues, to talk about his first few months with the San Antonio Spurs.
Upon learning he had an offer waiting from Brian Wright, Landale's hesitation only lasted about 10 minutes. "For a second, we were like, should we wait and feel out the market? And then we were like, what the hell? This is the Spurs. What are we thinking?" he said.
The decision to join San Antonio fulfilled a lifelong dream for the 26-year-old. The next step? Earning some real playing time.
Landale speaks about handling frustration the right way
"You haven't played a whole lot with the Spurs," said Bogut. "I can question it but you can't. You gotta keep doing what you're doing."
It's true -- Landale knows he needs to be patient and not complain about being benched this early in his NBA career. I also agree with Bogut, though, that the decision by Gregg Popovich to have Landale as the team's last big is questionable. Still, Jock is taking it in stride.
"You can't bottle up your frustration. That's not something to hide, but you've just got to know the right outlets to use," replied Landale. "We're competitive individuals and want to play as much as we can, but those things are kind of out of your control. These guys know what I bring to the table. "
Landale reveals how following the same schedule religiously has helped him keep his mind on getting better and not worrying as much about playing time. Another thing that helps him stay focused? Enjoying his life off the court.
"It's important to not make this experience all about basketball because when things like this happen, mentally you just go down the rabbit hole and it can get to a dark place. [My girlfriend] and I really enjoy life off the court. We get out to Austin a fair bit and do different things. We took up paddle-boarding over the summer."
Jock Landale is working extra hard to stay ready
While he's enjoying life off the court, Landale knows his work ethic is important for a team like the Spurs, so he's maintaining a strong one as he waits for his moment.
"I get up more shots than I ever have in my career. I'm working with [Spurs' Athletic Development Coach] Kelly Forbes, who Patty put me onto. He's a game-changer. We stay late after practice doing stuff. Extra conditioning after games is an absolute nightmare, but I'm just constantly trying to improve.
Even the Spurs' psychologist has been helping Landale deal with the fact that his time to make an impact isn't quite here yet.
"She's been huge in making my mindset shift from my happiness being depicted by how many minutes I play. I've tried to move my mindset to more specific goals like body fat percentage or how much I can lift in the weight room. Goals that will lead to success and bring on minutes on the court."
As the interview when on, Landale reveals the biggest goals of his NBA career -- to have a true impact on winning as an established rotation player and to win an NBA championship. Even with some frustration, Jock is enjoying his experience with the Spurs so far and won't let a slow start in playing time affect his professionalism.
"I'll still get a bit upset about the situation and have to get some stuff off my chest, but that's only because I'm human and I'm a competitor. I love winning and that's all I really want to do in my career."