The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are here. International or FIBA basketball sees some of the best global players strut their stuff internationally, but mainly to upset team USA. Since Athens 2004, no country has been able to dethrone the Americans. As the international standard has increased over time, the gap has decreased between America and the field. Heading into the summer games, plenty of non-NBA players could earn themselves a spot on an NBA roster. Here are a few prospects that the New Orleans Pelicans should monitor
New Orleans Pelicans: Jock Landale (Australia) could be a stretch-big in the NBA
Jock Landale arrived on the international scene in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. A former WCC player of the year and Consensus second-team All-American in his time at St Mary’s, the centre was considered a post scoring big man with limited athleticism and skill set that translates to the current NBA.
However, from his first pro season, until now, Landale has reinvented his body and game, becoming the best centre in Australia’s NBL and the reigning finals MVP. Capable of shooting three’s at the international level, Landale has become Australia’s starting power forward, alongside Aaron Baynes, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, to form a formidable starting line-up, which defeated the USA in an exhibition game.
The development of Landale’s game was showcased in the 2019 world cup, where he averaged over six points and three rebounds in 18 minutes per game whilst shooting 46% from three and playing gritty defense. Over the two years since, Landale has improved leaps and bounds and is already on the NBA radar. Australia’s lack of quality depth at centre is an issue, and with Landale’s versatility and size (6-foot 11-inches), he can match it with all the bigs at the Olympics.
His shooting capabilities make him a perfect third centre off the bench, especially for a team that lacks shooting. His skill set allows him to play in any line-up, and the flexibility given is similar to that of Nicolo Melli (before he forgot how to shoot).