San Antonio Spurs News

Jakob Poeltl has the edge over Tim Duncan in one impressive way

San Antonio Spurs Jakob Poeltl, Caris LeVert
San Antonio Spurs Jakob Poeltl, Caris LeVert / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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It's not often you'll see me compare a current member of the San Antonio Spurs with the great Tim Duncan, but Jakob Poeltl's defense has just been that good.

While he's barely in the top 10 in the NBA in blocks per game as of Monday with 1.6 per, it's a different aspect of the Austrian center's presence that really drives San Antonio's top 10 defense. Poeltl is quickly climbing up the Spurs' all-time leaderboard in overall career block percentage.

As defined by Basketball Reference, block percentage is an estimate of the percentage of opponent two-point field goal attempts blocked by a given player while they're on the floor. As it stands, Jakob Poeltl is blocking 5.6% of all two-point attempts taken while he's on the floor.

Jakob Poeltl's defensive effectiveness is rivaling David Robinson

Beyond having a comfortable edge over Tim Duncan's 4.6% career mark, Poeltl's 5.6% is currently tied with David Robinson, who finished his career with 2,954 career swats.

Only George Johnson, who played 157 total games with the Spurs from 1980-82, has a higher block percentage than Poeltl and Robinson with a seemingly uncatchable mark of 7.9%.

If his overall efficiency in blocking shots isn't enough, Poeltl is also first in the league in contested shots per game with 13.2.

It's no secret that having Poeltl on the floor directly impacts how well the Spurs perform on both ends of the floor. They were just 2-5 earlier this season when he missed time due to health and safety protocols.

"Jakob is very important to us," Coach Popovich said upon his return on November 18th. "He anchors our defense. Getting him back will be important for us."

At just 4-11 before Poeltl started getting regular minutes again, San Antonio has since gone 6-5 to climb up to 10-16 and get closer to being back into play-in tournament contention. It's not a coincidence that they look like a completely different team with their 7-1 center anchoring the middle.

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While Tim Duncan's overall block numbers will never be matched by a Spur, it's great to see how intimidating of a presence Poeltl continues to be, and that should result in his name being among many all-time franchise marks by the end of his time in San Antonio.

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