Title: Checking up on Jakob Poeltl, the Raptors rookie you may have forgot about
Date: February 3, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at the small signs Raptors’ rookie Jakob Poeltl has been able to show in his spot minutes.
It was six games and nearly two weeks between appearances, and even longer between stints that didn’t come in a blowout. There was no D-League time with Raptors 905 in between, and there was no sign it was coming. It is not easy to be called into duty with little recent practice time and even less game action, but that’s the job description for a rookie at the edge of a playoff team’s depth chart. And so credit Jakob Poeltl for making the most of his 9:27 of action on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, minutes that were necessitated by a loose whistle from a pair of zealous officials, and minutes in which he once again flashed encouraging signs of development.
The Raptors made Poeltl the No. 9 overall pick in June, betting that there was a significant ceiling on top of what most agree is a substantial floor. Poeltl was perhaps not the sexiest pick, with a perceived drop off after the eighth selection, and the Raptors’ reportedly shopping the pick before the draft likely played a part in the reaction to the choice. But the sophomore out of Utah had thrived in a handful of different offensive and defensive looks over two years, showed enough range at both ends to suggest he might be able to play either big position, and began picking things up quickly in training camp.
His quick learning curve proved necessary when Lucas Nogueira suffered a sprained ankle to start the year, but since Nogueira took his backup centre job back, Poeltl’s been heard from sparingly. He appeared in just 18 of the team’s 42 games from Nov. 9 until Wednesday, averaging 7.7 minutes, largely at the end of games, and usually with foul trouble following him.