Jakob Poeltl is headed to the Spurs leaving many San Antonio fans wondering what they are getting with the big man. While the focus of the trade is Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan, Poeltl is an interesting addition to the deal. Poeltl is just two years removed from being the No. 9 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Poeltl is originally from Austria, and spent two seasons playing college basketball at Utah. Poeltl averaged 17.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks his last season at Utah. The big man has not had the same kind of success in the NBA, but it is still early in his career.
Poeltl averaged 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds last season for the Raptors. He saw his playing time increased from 11.6 minutes per game to 18.6 minutes. Here’s how Draft Express described Poeltl as a prospect back in 2016 heading into the draft.
One of the breakout NBA prospects of last season, Jakob Poeltl emerged from relative obscurity to average 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds over 23.3 minutes per game as a true freshman while helping Utah to a Sweet Sixteen appearance. Opting to return to school to improve his already lofty draft stock, Poeltl took a calculated risk, which appears likely to pay dividends. Adding to his resume in impressive fashion after a summer playing in exhibition games for the Austrian National Team against the talented rosters fielded by the likes of Germany, Italy, and Lithuania, Poeltl emerged as one of the most productive big men in the country, winning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors along with both the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Pete Newell Big Man awards, averaging 17.3 points and 9.1 rebounds over 30.5 minutes per game…
Emerging seemingly out of the blue as a 17 year old to average 15.3 points and 12.8 rebounds per game at the 2012 FIBA U18 Division B European Championship, Poeltl has taken one of the more unique paths to the draft of any international player in recently memory. Posting similar numbers at the 2013 edition of the same championship, Poeltl’s recruitment, both from college programs and clubs in Europe, picked up dramatically as the basketball world began to take notice of his combination of size and skill.
Poeltl flashed, at times, for the Raptors during the playoffs, but still has a ways to go to live up to previous expectations. Going to the Spurs will only help Poeltl’s development. Poeltl may not live up to the top 10 billing he had when the Raptors drafted him, but it is feasible to see the big man developing into a solid starter after a couple years in the Spurs system. Gregg Popovich has been known to turn around player’s careers who have either been undervalued or under-performed.
Source: Heavy Sports