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Most Interesting Lakers No. 18: Devontae Cacok is a name to keep an eye on down the road

As an undrafted rookie, Devontae Cacok is making himself known for the right reasons, especially after landing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Lakers. But what can be expected from the 6’7” big man in his first professional season?

NBA: Summer League-Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: For the second year in a row, the Silver Screen and Roll staff is counting down the most interesting Lakers heading into next season. We will be going through all 20 training camp spots before the season begins, and today we continue with No. 18, Devontae Cacok.

From the NBA to the G League, any team with name ‘Lakers’ inscribed over its chest is not short on talent. One of the Lakers’ newest players, Devontae Cacok, could be someone that makes an impact on either squad.

But what can an undrafted rookie on an Exhibit 10 contract bring to training camp for a veteran-heavy roster that’s centered around LeBron James and Anthony Davis?

In all likelihood, just a spot with the South Bay Lakers, where the organization can watch and see if Cacok can develop into someone worth keeping an eye on under the eye of their player development staff.

The bar has been set for the 22-year-old with the Lakers’ invitation to training camp, and after what he did in summer league, Cacok ending up with South Bay is something to get excited about.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 8 - Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Cacok can bring second-chance points off the bench within minutes, he can rebound on each side of the court and has shown that he’s a commanding player that the L.A. front office took notice of during the Summer League.

Cacok mostly flew under the radar until he filled the stat sheet during the California Classic Summer League in Sacramento while coming off the bench. Most of the attention heading into the summer was focused on second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker and two-way contract player Zach Norvell Jr., as the Lakers were low on draft picks and heavy on undrafted signings. But Cacok made himself known by averaging 11.8 points, nine rebounds, 1.2 assists and two steals per game during the summer while coming off the bench in all but three games (which he started).

Just like heading into summer league, expectations are understandably low for someone who might not ever suit up for the Lakers. But what Cacok was able to pull off from the bench in Las Vegas makes him someone to watch while he’s with South Bay.

Although Cacok is below the league’s 6’11” average height for centers, his ability to rebound allows him to make up for some of his vertical deficiencies. During his last season with UNC Wilmington, Cacok averaged 12.3 rebounds a game for the NCAA’s second-best average.

To put that in prospective, Zion Williamson — the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick — was No. 44 on the list with 8.9 rebounds a game. Just like Cacok, Williamson is also listed at 6’7”. Sure, Cacok is older than Williamson by three years so he’s definitely had the extra time to work on rebounding techniques, but nonetheless, Cacok’s numbers on the glass are impressive.

NBA: Summer League-Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers bought low on Cacok, but if you squint, you can see his upside if things come together for him with South Bay. Cacok’s development in the G League isn’t a sure thing, but it will expose him to the grind of the professional ranks. If his rebounding numbers translate, it’s not impossible that he could turn into a decent energy big for an NBA team, and the Lakers will get a closer look at whether he can do so than anyone.

L.A. found itself a player with a bright future that has already shown what he can bring to the floor. His growth in the three weeks that he wore a Lakers uniform showed glimpses of a player coming to grips with his potential, and with a chance to learn from an accomplished, veteran-heavy training camp roster, Cacok just may be able to maximize his potential in the G League and force his way into the Lakers’ plans.

That may be a long shot, but Cacok is someone to watch for the Lakers this season. His contract doesn’t guarantee a lot, but his drive on and off the court could end up making the Lakers’ bet on the undrafted rookie be worth it in the end.

The countdown so far:

20. Aric Holman

19. Jordan Caroline

18. Devontae Cacok

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