Scouting Report: Jakob Poeltl

Jakob Poeltl is a center from the University of Utah. Poeltl is 7’0 and has a wingspan of 7’1. For the year, he averaged, 30.4 minutes per game, 17.2 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game, 1.9 assists per game, 1.6 blocks per game, while shooting 64.6% from the field. 

Pros:

  • True seven footer
  • Runs the floor well
  • Great motor
  • Very coachable
  • Efficient scorer
  • Good footwork
  • Good hands
  • Excellent rebounder
  • Good defender against the pick-and-roll
  • Rim Protector

Cons: 

  • Needs to bulk up
  • Needs to develop more post moves
  • Poor free throw shooter
  • Cannot create shots for himself
  • Lower ceiling

Overall:

On the offensive side of the ball, Jakob Poeltl was one of the most efficient scorers in the country(8th in Division 1). His high motor allows him to run the court well, usually beating his opponents, and thus allowing the Utah guards to find him for easy baskets. However, outside transition, Poeltl’s low post moves are in development. He did show a lot of progress coming back for his sophomore season, but they still remain a question mark going forward. His quick footwork shows that with real coaching he could become a monster down low, but Utah’s staff did not take advantage of this. Poeltl does embrace contact, but his free throw is still a work in progress. He did improve it from a 44.4% his freshmen season, to a 68.9% his sophomore season, which shows us he is putting a lot of work into the process.

Defensively, Poeltl is a rock. Not many teams in the league can lay claim to a true seven footer that protects the rim with the ease that Poeltl can. He is a good on-ball defender, who uses his strength to keep opponents from backing him down. His quick feet and control of his body allow him to be a very good pick-and-roll defender, as opposing guards cannot get by him. It would be nice to see Poeltl add between 15-20 pounds, and if that happened, it would be hard to imagine anyone getting through him. Poeltl does not do well around the perimeter, as he wants to protect the basket, so in the new age of the league with more shooting bigs, Poeltl will need to adapt to his game, or he could be a liability.

Overall,  due to his currently limited offensive game, Poeltl has seen his ceiling drop, and with that his draft range. Poeltl is currently look upon as a 7-10 guy now, instead of the top five he was seen as a few months ago. Although teams might want to reach for potential, Poeltl has given solid production both years at Utah, and looks to have a long, consistent career in the NBA, much like who I compare him to down below. Without the lottery currently set, I expect Poeltl to go to either Toronto or Milwaukee, who could use a interior defender for their current and future playoff aspirations. Those teams currently sit nine and ten in the lottery standings.

Pro Comparison: Andrew Bogut

I compared Karl-Anthony Towns to Andrew Bogut last year, and many other scouts did the same thing after they saw that. I was being precautious with Towns, but he has already developed into a star, and about to become a superstar, so Poeltl to Bogut comparison might not be that bad, and more accurate. Bogut has been one of the best defensive centers in the league when he can stay healthy. He is not the most dominant offensive piece anymore, but when your team consists of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green to name a few, you learn you will not get many shots. Neither player will devastate you with jumpers, but are extremely efficient near the basket. If my predictions of him landing in either Toronto or Milwaukee hold true, Poeltl will fall into a similar role, and that will be perfect for his development. Poeltl and Bogut show a lot of similarities on the defensive side of the ball. Neither is great defending on the perimeter, but when opponents try to come into the paint, they are met with a stingy wall. Poeltl and Bogut are both great rebounders, something many lottery teams sorely need. Bogut use to be a star in Milwaukee when they drafted him first overall back in the 2005 NBA Draft. As noted above, he has adjusted to his environment, and Poeltl could have a similar type of career, but in the reversal fashion. Depending on where he goes, Poeltl will be looked at as defensive first player, who has the potential to become an elite two-way center.

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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