When the Los Angeles Lakers first signed undrafted rookie Devontae Cacok to an Exhibit-10 contract in the summer of 2019, few fans had heard his name.
By the time the regular season came round, that was no longer the case. As he stood out in the preseason, averaging just over 10 points and 5 rebounds per game. This resulted in Cacok being rewarded with a two-way contract for the 2019-20 campaign.
As it turns out, he was only getting started. The precocious big man bullied his way into an All-NBA G League First Team selection on the back of an average of 19.4 points and 11.9 boards. Additionally, he was named to the NBA G League All-Rookie Team.
This was in 33 G League games for the South Bay Lakers, with only 2 of those being starts, and in limited minutes too (23.8 MPG). The combination of Cacok’s relentless effort and physical tools frequently overwhelmed opponents.
A Dominant Rookie Campaign:
As the G League suspension hit in March 2020, the 23-year-old rookie was averaging 22.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals through the month.
Cacok sat 9th in the entire league in field goal percentage (65.8%) and in terms of field goals made, he sat 2nd (269). Furthermore, he was both 4th in rebounds per game and in total rebounds, with 11.9 and 394, respectively.
On December 21, 2019, Cacok erupted for 32-points (career-high) against the Texas Legends. A week later, on December 28, he had a career-high rebounding performance. Where he recorded 19 boards, 10 of those being offensive, against the Northern Arizona Suns.
He is at his best in the screen-and-roll and in transition. Where his good positioning instincts and finishing ability are at their most effective. He also has greater agility and a better handle than would be expected from a player his size.
In limited action with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA, he has shown an ability to leverage those tools successfully against superior competition. Though, as with all such prospects, we must acknowledge the small sample size.
His excellent performances last year notwithstanding, there are a couple of clear areas to look for improvement in the coming season. The first is his turnover rate. The relentless activity that provides so much opportunity for him, also occasionally gets him into trouble.
Improving his decision-making in these situations would improve his already impressive efficiency. Giving him more opportunities to use his physical ability to make plays for others.
Montrezl Harrell Comparisons:
All in all, Cacok is a player with enormous potential in the modern NBA, as a high-level role payer. The best version of him resembles the newly-minted Laker and reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell.
Playing and practicing alongside Harrell is a golden opportunity to learn firsthand what it takes to perform at an elite level. It is also precisely Harrell’s presence on the Lakers’ roster that makes it likely that Cacok will spend most of the 2020-21 season with South Bay.
It is not impossible that, as the trade deadline looms, Cacok could play himself into a trade package and onto a 15-man NBA roster. Wherever he ends up this coming season, he is a talented, developing big who provides a great deal of upside.
Teams that like to run and play somewhat smaller should take a long look at Devontae Cacok. Until they do, every indication is that he will continue to perform in the G League at an extremely high-level.
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