Welcome back to LWOS NBA Draft Coverage, the column that brings you player profiles for the next crop of professional basketball players that are likely to be selected in the upcoming draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical profiles and scouting reports. Check out our complete coverage of the 2016 NBA Draft. Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for all things 2016 NBA Draft!
Jakob Poeltl – 7’1” Center, University of Utah, 20 Years Old
Jakob Poeltl is an Austrian center out of the University of Utah who figures to be a mid-late lottery pick. In his sophomore season he averaged 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 64% from the floor. Poeltl was named both the Pac-12 Player of the Year and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year. Even with the value of big men in the NBA diminishing as each day goes by, Poeltl still projects to be a tremendous asset to whichever teams selects him in the first round.
Poeltl is a very good finisher around the rim with soft hands, which should help his offensive game continue to grow in the NBA. He also runs the floor extremely well, cutting to the basket for his teammates to find him. It’s every guard’s dream to have a big man who runs the floor as well as Poeltl does. In college, he was one of the most efficient scorers, a trend that should continue at the next level. Poeltl’s agility and quickness for a player of his size enables him to move his feet well on defense. Combined with his 7’1” wingspan (which is actually relatively short for his height) that will allow him to block shots, Poeltl should be a very solid defender one day. In addition, the former Utah Ute provides a significant level of energy whenever he’s on the floor, often out-hustling his opponents. Jakob Poeltl is a very athletic and physical player who should contribute at a high level on both ends of the court.
While Poeltl runs the floor well for a 7 footer, he doesn’t quite have the physical strength to dominate on the glass in the NBA. Battling against centers at the professional level is a far tougher task than at the collegiate level, and as of now, Poeltl figures to be among the weaker centers in terms of strength. Offensively, Poeltl is a good, but not great, post up scorer on the block. With the transformed role of an NBA center in today’s game, Poeltl probably won’t be asked to post up in isolation situations too often anyways. He is also a poor free throw shooter, shooting the rock at a 69.4% clip from the charity stripe this past season. Poeltl has a relatively raw skill set that should continue to grow, but one thing that will likely never develop is a consistent jumpshot. “Stretch 5” is not something that Poeltl will develop into.
Jakob Poeltl has all the physical tools to become a top five center in the NBA one day. His mobility, size, work ethic, motor, and soft hands around the rim figure to be the most important aspects of his game that will allow him to develop into a prominent figure in this league. Cutting to the basket off screens and in transition should open up plenty of of opportunities for him to finish around the rim, something he does extremely well. One of the biggest factors for him will be his ability to add muscle and compete with the Andre Drummond‘s of the NBA on the glass. If everything pans out, Poeltl can become a star in the NBA.
NBA Player Comparison
Choosing one player to compare Poeltl to is extremely difficult because it seems as if he’s a blend of so many different centers. Timofey Mozgov and Zaza Pachulia are two players that come to mind when analyzing Poeltl’s skill set, but the player that most resembles the Utah product is Marcin Gortat. He is a fairly mobile center with an excellent touch around the hoop. Neither player is terribly explosive, but they both score well in pick and roll situations and can score in the post when asked upon. Defensively, Poeltl is probably a bit smoother with his footwork and will make his presence felt on that end more than Gortat has throughout his career.
Look for Jakob Poeltl to fall anywhere from 5-14 on draft night, and be sure to stay updated with our complete coverage of the 2016 NBA Draft!