Why San Antonio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl isn’t recognized — yet
In the average NBA fan’s defense, player averages of 8.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists don’t exactly scream top 10 center. Granted, those averages would likely be far higher if Poeltl had been starting for the entire season instead of coming off the bench for the first 18 games of the season.
But the wider NBA audience certainly doesn’t know that, especially when the guy in front of him, LaMarcus Aldridge, was already (and perhaps someone misleadingly?) labeled a star, albeit a slightly older one at that.
Like it or not, Spurs fans, but the highest-profile thing to happen to the Spurs this year garnering the most national coverage this year has been the departure of their former starting center, not the emergence of their current one.
The team’s current record certainly doesn’t help Jakob’s exposure to get the recognition he deserves. As I write this, the team currently sits in 9th with a dead even 29-29 record. And while releasing Aldridge for Poeltl to shine and develop further (short of getting actual trade value for LA, which was certainly a fear-turned-reality of mine), was probably the right decision.
The Spurs were 12-9 with Aldridge, meaning they’ve actually been worse since unleashing Jakob at 17-20 without him. This creates a conundrum for Poeltl getting the recognition he deserves because not only is the team fairing poorly by Spurs standards and not garnering national exposure, but it seems like the team is actually worse with Poeltl in a leading role — something we know simply isn’t true.
Dylan Carter covered in-depth just how underrated Jakob actually is on both ends. Carter also tweeted some staggering stats, chief among them is how Jakob’s defensive field goal percentage was tied with Rudy Gobert at the time at a blistering 42.8 percent (now 42.2).https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/04/21/0022000888/156/a96901a3-772e-ea4b-38c0-2d84f48b22a2_1280x720.mp4
If you want to learn more about how criminally underrecognized Jakob is, read Dylan’s piece. But for those who already know, it’s time to investigate where he falls in the NBA’s center hierarchy.
Next: Poeltl's Overall Rank