Spurs: 5 Shamelessly bold (but possible) predictions for the season

Oscar Barkis
Malaki Branham, San Antonio Spurs
Malaki Branham, San Antonio Spurs / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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2. Jakob Poeltl is Talked About as a Top 10 Center Leaguewide

There are decently informed basketball fans, people who may be reading this article right now, who see the name Jakob Poeltl and say (in their best Snoop Dogg impression) “who???” In fact, before being deemed namesake for the basketball-related spinoff of Wordle, I’d go so far as to say that the majority of hoops fans didn’t know of Big Jak.

I think that changes this season, largely based on the fact that NBA center ranks fall off a cliff quickly. Obviously at the top are Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Then you’ve got Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Bam Adebayo. Pretty soon you’re at DeAndre Ayton? Jarrett Allen and Robert Williams?

In my “bold” opinion, Poeltl already belongs squarely in the next group that includes Myles Turner, Christian Wood, and Jusuf Nurkic. He was one of the league’s best defensive big men last year even while being overextended a bit with smaller guys such as Doug McDermott and Keldon Johnson playing the four next to him.

His numbers on D should only improve with an actual power forward in rookie Jeremy Sochan slotting in. Offensively, it’ll be a more awkward fit with neither of them able to extend the floor, but to be honest, the Spurs' offense in general is going to be pretty awkward. Jak adds enough as a screen man and passer and utilizes his little push shot to create something out of “nothing” possessions.

Combining his rise in popularity due to the computer game with a projected increase in an already great defensive efficiency, I think Jak could very well be top 10 after this season. It would help if he could improve to even average for a center at the free throw line though.