With the recent acquisitions of players like LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, the San Antonio Spurs have once again showed the dominance of their top-to-bottom world-class organization. The front office of the Spurs has been by-and-large the most successful when it comes to late second round selections, where many of their core players were found. In 1999, Manu Ginobili was taken at No. 59 and just a few years later, Luis Scola was taken at No. 55. The likes of core pieces Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter were all taken well outside of the lottery. Doubting the Spurs and their lottery picks is now considered a very bad idea.
By the time the 50s rolled around in this years’ draft, the Spurs had an interesting pool of prospects left to choose from. With big-name college players like Michigan State’s Branden Dawson and the Tar Heel’s own J.P. Tokoto still on the board, San Antonio chose to go a different route, selecting UMass center Cady Lalanne at No. 55. During his four-year tenure at UMass, the Haitian native tallied solid averages of 11.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting over 55% from the field in just 29 minutes per contest. The Third-Team All-Atlantic 10 player was a key cog for his team and contributed to one NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Lalanne, 23, is a little on the short side at -9 to play the center position, but his astonishing -5 wingspan makes up for it.
Graphic via dailycollegian
Offensively, Lalanne was mainly a post-up player in college, using his unique combination of size and length to get off his signature right hook over the defender. He is a very reliable finisher around the hoop and has proven himself since he was a freshman to be able to read defenses and develop into a great decision-maker. His post-game will continue to improve under the guidance of the Spurs’ staff, but his mid-range and free throw shooting are going to need to improve for him to be an effective presence on the court. He’s a load for any matchup to handle, as his blend of a relentless motor and great length allow him to attack the glass on both ends of the floor to great effect, helping him achieve 14 double-doubles in his senior season.
On defense, his shot blocking instincts and timing are excellent and rim protection will always be a valued commodity in the NBA. Although he drastically needs to bulk up and add some strength, his intensity level will help ease his transition in guarding one-on-one situations, as he is already set to be a formidable rim protector off the bench. With Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan returning for at least one more year, the Spurs’ roster is very tight and Lalanne seems to be destined to spend this season play for San Antonio’s D-league affiliate, Austin Toros, or even overseas.
Graphic via projectspurs