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'It's just exciting to be a part of' | Spurs rookie Landale looking to fit in among big man rotation

The rookie had a pretty good NBA debut.

SAN ANTONIO — Jock Landale is competing in training camp, making the most of NBA minutes in a preseason game versus Utah. He is learning from a pair of Spurs ahead of him in the team's big man rotation: Jakob Poeltl and Drew Eubanks.

"Jakob and Drew, honestly, they're awesome players to be around," said Landale during a recent media session. "There's a sense of competitiveness and we're trying to make each other better, but it's nothing personal and there's never any. We're all mates here."

The Spurs signed the free-agent Australian big man during the offseason after going undrafted in 2018. 

He's played professionally overseas, most recently with Melbourne United of the National Basketball League in the 2020-21 season and played with Team Australia in the 2021 Olympics.

Since joining the team in training camp, he's opening the eyes of the projected starting center.

"[He's] a guy that can stretch the floor a little bit for us. A versatile offensive guy if we need that in games," Poeltl said recently.

It's interesting that Poellt notes Landale's offensive versatility. 

He can stretch the floor at his position shooting 39-percent from the three-point line with Melbourne last season and is a career 37-percent shooter from beyond the arc.

In his NBA debut, he scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds, hit two three-point shots and recorded three assists.

It was a solid pro-debut, but it remains to be seen if that shooting ability gives him steady NBA minutes, and what his role might look like come the start of the regular season. 

"I can't really speak on my role," Landale said. "I'm not too concerned with that. I'm just trying to focus on getting better day by day right now, and fitting in where I can."

Right now, Landale is just soaking in lessons from his teammates and keeping the bigger picture in mind: Team first!

"Drew and Jak, are constantly in my ear trying to help me out, trying to get me comfortable with new rules and situations and whatnot," said Landale. "So if anything, it's just great to have them around because they care and we're trying to be better as a team rather than beat each other out."

Landale has a solid shot to be a part of the center rotation. A rotation that is rich with different skill sets from the Spurs big men.

"I think we have a very good variety with our bigs," Poellt said. "Different guys that are good at different things."

Landale isn't shy to know he has work to do and note who is ahead of him in the rotation.

And just being a part of it is exciting for him.

"Jacob's a phenomenal defender and Drew's, he's a bully," he said. "They're great leaders and they deserve everything they get."

"They're doing a great job of kind of controlling the five spot at the minute and doing their thing. So it's just exciting to be a part of," Landale said.

Stay right here at KENS 5 for complete Spurs coverage.

Twitter: @JeffGSpursKENS5 

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