Congrats To Whoever Drafts Jakob Pöltl – He’s A Future All Star

pöltl

Jakob Poeltl stuffs it for Utah, Utah vs. Idaho State, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 27, 2015 | Photo courtesy Utah Athletics

Congrats To Whoever Drafts Jakob Pöltl – He’s A Future All Star

 

Much like I called Kristaps Porzingis’ success before last year’s draft, my hopes are high for this next European 7-footer, too.

Size and mobility are key to success for the 7’1” Austrian. His mobility his very impressive for a seven footer, he moves incredibly well, especially in transition. Pair all this with great hands, a good work ethic, great big man passing skills, an improving shot, add some muscle and you’ll get a future NBA All-Star.

To me, Pöltl is the best Center-Prospect in this year’s draft and one of the five best players overall. Once drafted, he will become the first Austrian to ever set foot in the NBA.

Three years ago, no-one really knew about Pöltl. Back then, he was playing with the Austrian Under 18 squad in the FIBA Championships in 2013. Poeltl played incredibly well, broke out and was discovered by an assistant coach for the University of Utah. He became a Ute and while it took him some time to get used to the higher level of competition in his first year, he broke out in this last college season. With averages of 17.2 PPG, 9.1 REB, 1.9 AST and 1.6 BLK, while shooting 64.6% frome the field and 68.9% from the line, he became the first Utes player to ever be named Pac-12 Player of the Year.

If you’ve never seen him play, nor have an idea who he is, let’s compare him to some current NBA players. I’d say he is a mix of Andrew Bogut and Miles Plumlee, but with a higher ceiling. There are not many 7-footers who can run the floor like he does. Also, he often gets himself open just by out-hustling opposing bigmen – his work ethic and mindset is perfect for the NBA. With his long and agile body, he’s already great at posting up, enjoys contact and doesn’t back down from it. Add 20+ pounds of muscle to it and you’ll get the perfect Center. Even more so if you add his ability to finish with both hands, and his soft touch. On top of all these offensive skills he brings to the table, his defense is already strong and was rapidly improving throughout the last couple of months. It is incredible how well he moves his feet on defense, considering his height. He has great coordination and won’t get beat easily by guards on pick and rolls. His best feature is the way he plays – He plays with heart and effort every minute he is on the floor, giving his all.

 

 

As you can see, he gets almost all of his points in the paint and near the rim. His above-average footwork puts him in position to get many good looks at the rim and offensive rebounds. One thing unique to him is that he can drive to the basket out of the pick and roll better than almost any other center in the draft. Once he sets a good screen the ball gets passed to him. From there he can either make a pass or put it on the floor. All that while he was constantly working on his shot as he has shown in the pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Some people think that he might lack the swagger to take his game to a star level. Defensively he should look to become a little nastier in pushing people around on the block. Adding some small parts to his game, including more post moves, add weight and some swagger, let him adapt to the style of play in the NBA, and you’ll get a great player for years to come.

To me he is the European prospect in the draft, better than Dragan Bender. He’ll probably end up with either Tornoto, Milwaukee or Orlando. Although I think that even the Suns should put some thought into grabbing him with their 4th draft pick. Whoever will pick him, wherever Pöltl will end up – Conrats, he might be the next All Star on the team.

 

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