NBA Draft Profile: Jakob Poeltl

Jakob Poeltl

7-1, 230 pounds

School: Utah

Class: Sophomore

STRENGTHS: Poeltl is a long, athletic big who can run the floor like a gazelle and has a motor like a Dodge Charger. He’s still very raw, but he’s shown flashes of brilliance that have many scouts convinced he can become a star at the next level. Just take a look at his YouTube highlights below, and it’s easy to see why.

The Vienna, Austria native is 7-1, 230 pounds, but he’s got great lateral quickness, as he showed when he switched onto Duke’s 6-5 guard Luke Kennard on a key possession with just over a minute to play in Utah’s overtime win over the Devils at Madison Square Garden last season (it’s about a minute into the video below). Not only did Poeltl stay with Kennard, he blocked his shot. The sequence had Dickie V hyperventilating more than usual.

Poeltl’s post game isn’t polished yet, but he’s got some moves that if he masters them, can be very effective in the NBA. He’s an excellent finisher around the rim, has soft hands, and shows touch from 10-15 feet out. He also drastically improved his free throw percentage in his sophomore year at Utah, and now shoots it at around 70%. Maybe his best attribute is his great attitude and work ethic, as he’s always outhustling opponents on the floor and has shown a penchant for improvement.

WEAKNESSES: He’s still very raw, and doesn’t have a reliable low post game that will translate immediately to the next level. He also doesn’t have terrific second-jump quickness, and would struggle being matched up with more powerful, athletic bigs. He moves his feet well, but might struggle defending a stretch-four, and doesn’t yet have the toughness or mean streak to dominate down low.

BOTTOM LINE: He’s the classic ‘potential’ pick, because even though he averaged 17.2 points and 9.1 boards as a sophomore last season, Poeltl’s lure is more about what he might be able to do than what he’s already done. His mobility, motor, coachability, and physical intelligence are assets that could help him become a terrific player at the next level. But he’s going to have to get meaner, tougher, and more assertive on offense in order to reach his potential. When it’s all said and done though, we think this kid will be a starter in the league.

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