Jakob Poeltl flies comfortably under the radar in San Antonio, where last season he took on the biggest role of his career and thrived. Now the Spurs are tanking hard, which makes Poeltl one of the premier midseason trade candidates. There’s a lengthy list of contenders who should be blitzing the San Antonio phone lines.
With Poeltl, there’s not a ton of flash. He’s not generating highlights or capturing the imagination of your everyday NBA fan. He is, however, playing high-level winning basketball on both sides of the floor. Listed at 7-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Poeltl towers over most players in the post. He uses that size to great effect.
He’s not a special athlete, but Poeltl is an elite defensive anchor in large part due to his anticipation skills and high basketball I.Q. He knows where to be on the court and once he’s there, good luck shooting over him. Poeltl is a highly disruptive drop-coverage center who also inhales a healthy share of rebounds every night.
Offensively, Poeltl does have one critical weakness: he can’t shoot free throws (49.5 percent at the stripe last season). Move past that, however, and you have an excellent role player who sets thundering screens, possesses deft touch at the rim, and who passes quite well for his position.