Jakob Poeltl was acquired by the Toronto Raptors before the 2023 NBA trade deadline, giving him his second stint with the franchise in his NBA career. Poeltl was included in the famous Kawhi Leonard trade back in 2018, though his latest situation was far from different from his earlier years in Toronto. He was added to become the missing piece that would hopefully catapult the Raptors to a playoff spot, but unfortunately, they were eliminated in the play-in tournament.
Amid rumors that guys like Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. could possibly be moved to other teams, it’s safe to assume that the Toronto roster will be vastly different next season. The value of Poeltl’s position is underrated by some casual NBA fans, but a number of squads will certainly seek his services in the offseason.
It was reported that the Raptors will be willing to reward Poeltl with a four-year extension, per Yahoo Sports, but there are some organizations that might be a better fit for the incredible big man.
Here are the three best destinations for Poeltl in 2023 NBA free agency:
The Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA Championship by utilizing a small-ball lineup for the majority of the playoffs. In 2023, that was not the case anymore as the Los Angeles Lakers exposed their undersized roster, as their big men were limited to Kevon Looney and Draymond Green. The issue with adding any player on the Dubs’ roster is their fit =to the system of head coach Steve Kerr.
Guys like James Wiseman or Kelly Oubre Jr. are extremely talented guys, but they did not fit in Golden State. Jakob Poeltl will be a different case, however, since he has tremendous basketball IQ, along with impeccable rim protection instincts. An underrated asset in Poeltl’s arsenal is his timely passing from the cuts of his teammates, which is something that could benefit the Warriors.
Ever since drafting Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks have not added a big man who has complemented him for a long period of time. They have relied a ton on Doncic’s immense talent to win games, but they will need to focus on adding a big man who can anchor the paint and score successive baskets every night.
Christian Wood or Dwight Powell were clearly not the answers, but someone like Poeltl could be.
The screens from Poeltl could be instrumental for the Mavs and lead to open looks for Doncic and Kyrie Irving (if he stays). Dallas should definitely consider signing Poeltl to a four-year contract in order to bring some much-needed stability in that area for the foreseeable future.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
The core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams is definitely intriguing, though that trio certainly needs an anchor in the middle to further thrive.
Giddey was the leading rebounder of the squad for the regular season because they were missing the traditional big man to dominate the glass. Head coach Mark Daigneault relied on their terrific athleticism and versatility, but they had no size.
As the Thunder welcome Chet Holmgren for the 2023-24 season, a center with the repertoire of Jakob Poeltl should complement his style of play. Holmgren’s game is more face-up and initiating from the perimeter despite his towering size, so Poeltl’s positioning will not crowd the interior for the Thunder.
In the defensive end, two phenomenal rim protectors will intimidate opponents in every given night.