23-year-old Devontae Cacok of the South Bay Lakers caught plenty of attention throughout the 2019-20 G League season. Where he led the league in player efficiency rating (29.8).
Cacok represented UNC Wilmington at the collegiate level, between 2015-2019. Where he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in 129 games. As a sophomore he shot 80% from the field, which was the highest in the entire nation. As a junior, he led Division I in rebounding (13.5). Additionally, as a senior, his 22 double-doubles led the nation also.
Consequently, his dominant performances for UNC Wilmington earned him CAA Defensive Player of the Year (2017) honors, as well as 2 selections into the All-CAA First-Team (2018. 2019) and 3 CAA All-Defensive Team selections (2017, 2018, 2019).
Cacok’s Jump to the Professional Ranks:
The 6-foot-7 power forward went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft but was picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers on an Exhibit-10 contract. Where he featured in the 2019 NBA Summer League, averaging 11.8 points (62% FG) and 9 rebounds, in 5 games.
He also participated in the Lakers’ pre-season, playing in a total of 6 games. Which included two 16-point performances against the Golden State Warriors on October 14 and October 18, respectively. In the latter he had 10 rebounds and 4 assists too.
On October 21, Cacok was waived by the Lakers and added to their G League affiliate’s roster, the South Bay Lakers, on a two-way contract.
Taking the Next Step in the G League:
In 33 games throughout the 2019-20 G League season, he posted averages of 19.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. Shooting 65.9% from the field. He only started in 2 games, averaging 23.9 minutes per contest.
On December 21, Cacok posted a career-high 32 points in a loss against the Texas Legends. In terms of his career-high in rebounding in the professional ranks, this came against the Northern Arizona Suns on December 28. Where he had 19 rebounds (10 offensive) in a 124-120 victory.
As the G League suspension hit, the 23-year-old’s game was pushing to another level. In the month of March, he was averaging 22.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
Cacok’s name is widespread on the 2019-20 G League season leaders list. He was 2nd in the league in 2-point field goals (269) and 9th in field goal percentage (65.8%).
When breaking down his rebounding numbers, Cacok was the 4th-highest in rebounds per game (11.9), as well as being 4th in total rebounds (394). He sat in the same position in offensive rebounds (139) and defensive rebounds (255) also.
He topped the league in defensive rebound percentage, collecting 33.2% of South Bay’s totals when on the floor. Offensively he was 2nd in the entire league (18.1%). As a whole, he held a league-leading total rebound percentage of 25.7%.
In his first season as a professional, Cacok was named to the All-NBA G League First Team and the NBA G League All-Rookie Team.
Even though he’s regarded as an undersized big at 6-foot-7, Cacok’s sheer size and strength allow him to be a force in the paint. Sweeping up rebounds at a high level. He doesn’t get too many blocks, but he picks up deflections that benefit his team, and his presence alone on the defensive end is enough to put opponents off.
His characteristics are very similar to that of Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers. In being an energetic, aggressive big that can offer his team the option to play effective small ball.
On the offensive end, Cacok does pretty much all of his work within 5-feet of the basket through put-backs, layups, and dunks. In fact, 315 of his 408 field goal attempts in the 2019-20 season were in the restricted area. Where he converted 215 of his efforts (68.3%).
He is very agile and possesses excellent lateral movement, enabling him to run the floor with ease and work well off the pick-and-roll. He can also open up looks off the dribble. Whether it be for himself by driving to the basket, or through opening up opportunities for others. An outside game is not in his repertoire, however.
Montrezl Harrell spent time in the G League and flourished when given the opportunity. Leading to him now being regarded as one of the best sparks off the bench in the NBA. Maybe Devontae Cacok will follow suit?