After originally being selected by the Toronto Raptors with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Jakob Poeltl was traded to the San Antonio Spurs with DeMar DeRozan in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.
The move proved to be a massive success for the Raptors, even if the arrangement with Leonard lasted one season. Toronto managed to defy the odds by successfully winning a championship with Leonard offering incredible production.
Leonard ultimately opted to depart from the Raptors the following offseason to team up with Paul George on the LA Clippers. Meanwhile, Poeltl remains a member of the San Antonio Spurs and is coming off a strong 2021-22 campaign.
It does remain to be seen how long Poeltl will remain in San Antonio. He is entering a contract year and the Spurs are in the beginning of a rebuilding effort. Considering that Poeltl will be 27 at the start of the upcoming season, is it mutually beneficial to get locked into a long-term contract?
Putting the big picture storylines surrounding Poeltl aside, Bleacher Report recently did a re-draft of the 2016 NBA Draft. He was originally selected with the No. 9 overall selection and landed in the same spot in this exercise.
The production Poeltl provided the Spurs in what was a career-year was enough for him to remain in the top 10 in the re-draft exercise. He averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game while shooting 61.8 percent from the field.
"Speaking of scalability, Jakob Poeltl maintained much of the efficiency and defensive impact that made him great while posting career highs in minutes per game and usage last season," Andy Bailey wrote.
Poeltl's impacted in areas that may not be obvious in the box score go a long way in how he establishes value, too. He is a proficient overall defender and rebounder with underrated passing ability. However, improving as a free throw shooter is considered a must at this point.
"That impact is the result of a versatile game that includes high-end defensive awareness, excellent rebounding ability and an underrated passing repertoire," Bailey wrote. "If Poeltl ever figures out how to shoot free throws (he's at 51.8 percent for his career), he might be able to stay on the floor for enough minutes to enter All-Defense conversations."
The Spurs would undoubtedly benefit from keeping Poeltl as a center option for as long as they reasonably can. However, if the asking price is too great for his next contract, it may be ideal to move him in a trade before too long considering he can depart for nothing in return in free agency next summer.
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