Amit Mann and Asad Alvi discuss what Jakob Poeltl would provide if he was traded to the Raptors and how he would fit beside Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
- Jakob Poeltl on the other end with the dunk.
- How about Jakob with the wrong foot dunk here?
AMIT MANN: Josh Lewinburg reportedly said that the Raptors had inquired about Jakob Poeltl, former Raptor Jakob Poeltl many times. And his name come up-- came up again a few days ago with a rumored deal. And we don't know if this is true or not because these aren't credible sources. But SpursTalk.com said there was something of a trade on Jakob, Gary Trent, Jr., and maybe a few picks and stuff like that.
But anyways, Jakob Poeltl fitting with the players that you just mentioned-- so it's Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, potentially OG Anunoby, but really that's not a certainty yet either. But in the end, how does Jakob Poeltl fit with that? Because I-- the reason why I'm just like, I'm not sure how well-- there's things that he does very, very well. We'll get into it.
But how does he fit with those two guys when they're not terrific 3-point shooters, and Jakob Poeltl shoots 50% to 60% on the free throws? It's not great.
ASAD ALVI: So here's my--
AMIT MANN: OK, yeah, go ahead.
ASAD ALVI: --my question on this.
AMIT MANN: Yep, yep.
ASAD ALVI: How old is Scottie Barnes?
AMIT MANN: I understand that, yeah. I know, 21.
ASAD ALVI: No, no, how old is Scottie Barnes? How old is Precious Achiuwa, right? And we've seen flashes of them, Scottie Barnes shooting 35% on catch-and-shoot 3's. That's clearly something that's being added to his game and is going to be expected for him to add to his game.
Precious Achiuwa, we've seen stretches of him being a plus-35% 3-point shooter. And we are seeing improvement. His free throw shooting has been really good over this last stretch, which is a good sign of his shot-- your shot quality.
So I think people-- again, it's not just looking at this year. It's not just looking at, oh, what these players are right now that you're fitting around, but over the next two or three year span because, again, you're going to come up with a Pascal Siakam supermax discussion in 18 months. It's right around the corner.
AMIT MANN: Oh, yeah. It's coming.
ASAD ALVI: So what does the team look like then? What is Scottie Barnes at that point? What is Precious Achiuwa at that point? What is Pascal Siakam at that point? And does Jakob Poeltl best fit around those guys at that point?
And I think that you should be expecting Scottie Barnes to be a better 3-point shooter by then. You should be expecting Precious Achiuwa to be more consistent. What Jakob Poeltl brings-- and it's something that we see. The Raptors' best offensive lineups this season have been with--
AMIT MANN: Koloko, yes.
ASAD ALVI: Koloko in the middle, right?
AMIT MANN: Yes.
ASAD ALVI: And what does Koloko bring? He brings--
AMIT MANN: And soon to be Precious Achiuwa too, by the way, yeah.
ASAD ALVI: Yeah, rim defense, the-- and Blake-- Blake Murphy from "SportsNet" had a great piece that came out today breaking down all the areas of the Raptors' defense and how it's struggled this season. And the big one has been, they have been really bad at rim deterrence and guarding at the rim.
They give up a ton of paint points. They're one of the worst teams guarding the paint at the rim. But you can put him out there to secure your defense in between your vision six nine lineups. So that way, you're not tiring out your vision six lineups. You're getting someone who finishes at the rim at above 60%.
He might not be a good free throw shooter, but he does get fouled a lot. And what do the Raptors have in Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes-- especially Scottie Barnes over this past month has been getting to the free throw line a ton. Are guys who get into the bonus--
And the Raptors get into the bonus, you can now suddenly take a halfcourt offense that might be a little mediocre, and if you're getting to the bonus a lot quicker, suddenly that offense becomes a lot more efficient, right?
AMIT MANN: Hmm.
ASAD ALVI: And that's what we're seeing with Precious Achiuwa. He improved his free throw shooting. He's drawing a ton more fouls. And now, not only is he getting 1.5 points per possession out of his free throw shooting when he gets fouled going for a bucket. But now the Raptors are in the bonus.
Pascal Siakam, four minutes left in the quarter, he can just draw a foul late in the clock and get to the free throw line rather than draw a foul, then they have to inbound again, right? So these are things where I think Jakob Poeltl positionally really fits. He's lower-usage. He will give you someone who can solidify your defense and make you play in a little bit more traditional roles and also allows for your players on the perimeter, your perimeter defenders--
And OG Anunoby if he's out on the wing, if Fred VanVleet is out there, to be a little bit more aggressive, so then that way, if they get blown by, they know they have a big back there. So that's why I think Jakob Poeltl is a good fit. Again, the question is, how much are you kind of paying for that? What's the deal end up looking like? But I can see how that--
AMIT MANN: It might be $20 million is what he's potentially looking at. He wants $20 million a year. That's a lot of money.
ASAD ALVI: And a thing to remember, the Raptors made a trade. They traded Terrence Ross, who was a shooting guard that had a lot of potential, could get really hot. And they traded him for an older center in Serge Ibaka, who was 27 at the time. And he was expiring at the time. And they ended up signing him.
And again, if you go to that championship team, Marc Gasol was being paid $30 million. Serge Ibaka was getting paid, I think, $25-- $20 to $25 million. And that was under the older salary cap. So again, getting good starter-level and elite-level finishers in these role player molds are not necessarily cheap, especially big men.
And that's why, again, Jakob Poeltl isn't only just wanted by the Raptors. The Boston Celtics are a common name. The Warriors have been a common name.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
ASAD ALVI: A lot of good teams need that type of-- because again, if you don't have the elite, elite center in a Jokic or an Embiid, you need to have just a solid-level role player.
AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm. And that's a tricky one. There's so many things that depend on other things because you could say-- and you mentioned Scottie Barnes. Is he going to be playing point guard next season? Is that what's going to be happening? Or is he going to be still playing the four or the five or whatever?
Is Fred VanVleet still here? Because then that makes a lot more sense now to have Jakob Poeltl because you have that shooting gravity with him. But I mean, look he's an extremely talented player. He's only going to get better.
He finishes well around the rim. I mean, rebounding, just being a good rolling big-- and he can pass out of it. I love all these things about him. I'm just thinking, you mentioned Precious Achiuwa. In this like future lineup, is Precious playing the four, and then Scottie's at the one, and then you need someone at the two spot? Is that what we're looking at? Because we could be, and that could be really fun too.
And it's a fair point. Scottie Barnes should get better and could get better. And Pascal, I mean, I'm hoping that he finds himself as a catch-and-shoot player. It's been a little bit up-and-down. And also there's still Precious Achiuwa. I like the idea of him playing five, right? He's done a great job there. And I think he's going to keep on continuing to get better.
We saw what he did with Joel Embiid last year, as good as anyone can do in terms of at his size, his ability to just be athletic and be strong. And his balance is terrific. And I like the idea of him playing. But then there's also Christian Koloko, right? What's he going to be if he has a great offseason, if he adds a couple more pounds, and he really gets himself up to speed with the NBA game stuff?
These are so many things that are depending on other things. And I'm just like, ahh!
ASAD ALVI: My only thing on the Christian Koloko thing is we should probably look at a longer lens for him than next season because again, as good as he can be in short bursts, Christian Koloko playing in low-leverage regular season minutes and being able to show short bursts is different than an Jakob Poeltl who can give you-- play high-leverage minutes, who could play in a first round, second round playoff series, and give you good minutes, right?
And I think the big thing with Precious and Poeltl is Poeltl is, unlike a Myles Turner or a DeAndre Ayton, who are two players that are going to command 30, 35 minutes, a fair number of touches, Poeltl's a guy who you can drop him down to 20 minutes in a specific game.
He can be a 20 to 25-minute guy. And then you are getting 48 minutes of consistent rim protection between him and Precious, right, in different capacities, where Precious is a smaller-ball type look. Poeltl gives you a more conservative look. Also Poeltl gives you an actual big at the back line, which lets you play more smaller guards.
One of the biggest issues for the Raptors is, even with Precious out there, is that they struggle playing any type of smaller guard because they just don't have the back line big rim defender. Even as good as Precious is at contesting--
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
ASAD ALVI: --it's not a shot blocking threat in the same way that a Poeltl would be. So I think that those are a couple of considerations where it opens up your lineup possibilities a little bit more. It gives you a little bit more diversity in the type of lineups you can play. And it's like that's the type of piece that, good teams have that on their roster.
So I think it's definitely a fit. And it might seem like, oh, you're trading Gary Trent to get this. But I think you have to look at them as separate deals entirely and more be like, OK, what are they trying to build this team to be in 12 to 18 months?
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
ASAD ALVI: Because that's effectively your window for Pascal Siakam. And then if, by next trade deadline, you feel like the retooling hasn't worked, that's where I would then think that the Raptors would go into more of a wholesale type of rebuild where they can because they have all their picks. They have a young stud in Scottie Barnes, who gives you a longer leash to then develop into. But you don't need to give up on your current build just because you're still going to have that Scottie Barnes build in the future available to you, even a year from now. So--
AMIT MANN: Man, we talk about this offseason. How about the next one? You got Scottie. You got OG. You got Pascal. Man, that's a tricky time. That's why I was saying they should have gone all-in last season just to make-- maximize the window because this one-- I mean, the season's gone the way it's gone. And hopefully this road trip changes things. But critical decisions, like franchise-defining decisions are coming up here for the Toronto Raptors. Let's see how it all unfolds.