The San Antonio Spurs acquired Jakob Poeltl from the Toronto Raptors this offseason, and NBA legend Charles Barkley has high praise for the 22-year-old big man.
Barkley described Poeltl as a really great player off the bench and one of the most underrated players in the league. No player who appeared in more than half of last season’s games had a better effective field goal percentage than Poeltl. Yet the 22-year-old played every single game last season and managed a 66.0 effective field goal percentage.
Poeltl was above average when cutting to the basket, on offensive putbacks, as the roll man in the pick-and-roll, and in transition. He averaged 1.11 points per possession, which ranked in the 93rd percentile among all players at his position.
Among big men who averaged at least six overall possessions per game, only four players in the NBA were more efficient than Poeltl: Karl-Anthony Towns, Clint Capela, Anthony Davis and Kevin Love.
He was especially strong in transition, averaging 1.51 PPP for the Raptors. This was the best mark in the league among all players who had at least 30 possessions in transition.
The seven-footer was also one of the most accurate players when shooting from within five feet of the basket. Similarly, only four players (minimum 300 attempts) had a better field goal percentage: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Derrick Favors and Montrezl Harrell.
Poeltl was one of the 10 most efficient players on putback attempts among those with as many opportunities, too. His ability to grab offensive boards and turn them into baskets remains one of his most impressive skills.
According to Cleaning the Glass, his block percentage also ranked in the 93rd percentile among all bigs on the defensive end. Only 10 players who averaged as many minutes had a better block percentage.
Overall, the Raptors outscored opponents by 7.6 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court. He was an instrumental member of their bench mob, often providing a spark on either side end whenever he got minutes.
He was far more than just a throw-in to go alongside DeMar DeRozan for the Spurs. Poeltl can make a big impact in San Antonio moving forward and he still has plenty of time to develop, with help from veteran big men like Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge.