Hidden Gems: Jakob Poeltl is the best center that no one talks about

Welcome to the first issue of Hidden Gems! This will be a regular Tuesday section where I will profile good players under the radar. Every fan wants to exchange for Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmp in exchange for John Wall and a selection in the second round. There will be no fake deals, but these guys are good and reachable.

You won’t see All-Stars here. Instead, they are solid players in the range of 40-125. They are relatively unfamiliar to ordinary fans, but they are popular with those who watch them regularly. The Spurs Jakob Poeltl center starts here to start the introductory column.

Who is Jakob Poeltl?

He is the man who had the lowest account in the Kawhi Leonard-to-the-Raptors store. He owns the worst nickname (Jake Puddle) in the league. It’s a 7: 1 figure that hides in the eyes of 28 fan bases who haven’t experienced it as their team, and perhaps the most searched by Google in the arena when they catch it for the first time.

It’s an early version of Joakim Noah’s Bulls if Noah played in the modern NBA and had an even worse jump. It’s Rudy Gobert with 25 percent lower rim protection but 200 percent better mobility. Jakob Poeltl is just one, so it’s fun to watch him. It’s the best NBA center anyone talks about, the guy Nuggets head coach Michael Malone called “One of the most underrated players in the league.”

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After playing Jonas Valanciunas in Toronto and La Marcus Aldridge in San Antonio for the first 4.5 years of his career, Poeltl finally got a chance to show what he can do as a starting center in the middle of last season. He has continued to build on certain signs of success and is on his way to getting into the turmoil of the All-Defensive team in the near future.

Any evaluation of Poell’s value on the dance floor must begin with this very defense. Gobert is on his own level, but Poeltl is in the mix for the next best rim protector in the league. He is a master at spending as much time as possible in or near the paint, while avoiding defensive three-second offenses by blocking the drive by tapping both fingers off the paint before shifting into gear.

Poeltl blocks the bullets as if someone has cursed his mother. He times jumps well and avoids fouls. Part of this jumping ability could be genetics – both of his parents were members of the Austrian national volleyball team. At the beginning of this season, he had one of the ugliest blocks of the year against Anthony Davis.

What really sets Poeltl apart from his missile blocking peers is that he can move much better than most of them on the perimeter. Not only does that allow him Overcome great distances on his blocksbut he also doesn’t cook so often from fast guards. In this way, he can avoid every player’s nightmare: become the subject of a viral bad defense meme:

Poeltl is also strong as a communicator on the dance floor. He keeps pointing his finger to evoke coverage, like a younger brother knocking on his siblings.

In the offensive, Poeltl’s weaknesses are striking and obvious. He can play both free throws on a trip to the line and has become the target of intentional fouls. You will never see him take the 3-pointer. This is the longest shot he has attempted this season:

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A missile that only a mother can love is surprisingly compelling, but its value will always be limited by its lack of an external missile at a distance of 15 feet and serious problems with the free throw. Nevertheless, Poeltl still brings some overall value as an offensive player.

Pelicans head coach Willie Green said of Poeth’s offensive rebound that “he’s one of the best, maybe the best in the league.” The numbers confirm this – Poeltl’s offensive rebound 4.0 per match is the third highest mark in the league.

Poeltl is also great in pick-and-roll situations. Overall, he has hit 60 percent of his shots this season and has a very solid 71 percent on the rim, Cleaning the Glass. He puts wood on the screens and is second only to Gobert in how often his screen assistance numbers mention people who stopped listening 10 seconds ago. He is also adept at one of my favorite big man moves, Gortat, in which he clears the way for the guards as a defender of the Pro Bowl. When he manages to get those folding passports, he demonstrates some clever craft and footwork on his rim ends.

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Poeltl also has nice passes. He is able to throw eephus over the defense to the cutters or the zipper is one hand from live dribble.

If you haven’t replenished your Blue Bell ice cream stock at the local HEB recently, you probably haven’t watched Poeltl much. The Spurs play only once on the ESPN season, on January 26 against the Grizzlies.

Poeltl will probably never make it to the All-Star team. But it’s a very solid starting center that should be a free agent in two years. He could help a lot of rival teams if he exchanged by then, or lock the position with the Spurs if they decided to pay him. Watch him – it’s hard to miss him once you start watching him.

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