Can Poeltl's biggest weakness hurt his trade value for the Spurs?
By Kyle Forson
Poeltl isn't just bad from the stripe, he's generationally bad
If you are thinking that what I'm describing cannot possibly be that bad, or perhaps is an exaggeration, just take a gander at Jak giving it the ol' college try on some free tosses at the hoop.
While Poeltl has claimed in the past that his free-throw shooting troubles are a result of a mental roadblock first and foremost, I think that's debatable. Whatever the issue may be, his inability to make free throws at a reasonably consistent rate is clearly a problem for San Antonio as long as he's on the roster. But what's even more concerning is that this defect in his game poses an even greater problem if the Silver and Black try to trade Poeltl.
Even with what else Poeltl can do on the court, NBA teams might be hesitant to ship off some valuable draft picks for a seven-footer who won't be dependable from the line in close, high-stakes games.
Players of the past like Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman could get away with having free throw issues, but mainly because they were elite in other areas of the game: shot-blocking and rebounding, respectively. Poeltl, despite being effective in his own ways in these areas, does not have that luxury. For him to truly become a complete basketball player, at the most elite level in all the land, he needs to learn how to make free throws at least at an average clip.
While he's already special in his own ways, Poeltl is an average free-throw shot away from being a potential All-Star and an anchor for the San Antonio Spurs to build around. Or, alternatively, we could all wake up tomorrow morning and find Brian Wright traded Jak to the Timberwolves in exchange for draft picks in 2028 and 2029 in a wild trade while the world was sleeping--this season will be that unpredictable.
My hope, personally, is that Jakob Poetell reads this article, never misses another free throw again, and subsequently leads San Antonio to a sixth NBA title. Unrealistic? Absolutely, but we're going to keep up with the optimism around here.