The San Antonio Spurs finally put an end to the Kawhi Leonard saga by trading the superstar to the Toronto Raptors last month.
DeMar DeRozan was the headline player they got in return but little has been said about the other player they received in the deal, Jakob Poeltl.
The Austrian enjoyed a solid second season with the Raptors last year and with the Spurs' successful history of developing European players, this could be the perfect fit for him.
A Spurs type of player
The 22-year-old was part of the best bench in the NBA in the previous campaign and became a reliable presence on both ends of the floor.
He played all 82 games and averaged 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while playing almost 19 minutes a night.
Under the guidance of Gregg Popovich, he could take his game to another level in San Antonio.
But as well as coach Pop, Poeltl is also looking forward to learning from two future Hall of Fame big men.
“Pau [Gasol] is like a really experienced big guy, a European guy I can learn a lot from,” Poeltl said, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
“Tim (Duncan) is around still helping out in practice and stuff. He is obviously one of the greatest, if not the greatest power forward of all time.
"So, yeah, there is more than enough bigs I can learn from.”
The youngster will also spend time playing alongside All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge in the frontcourt which will benefit him.
Poeltl's game resembles Gasol in many ways with a soft touch around the rim and a nice shooting stroke from mid-range.
Charles Barkley is a big fan of the former Utah product and recently called him “one of the most underrated players in the NBA.”
He developed into an important member of the Toronto rotation and he'll be expected to be a quality role player with the Spurs.
With Gasol celebrating his 38th birthday in July, this may be his last season and it could provide an opportunity for Poeltl to potentially become the team's starting center in the future.
The seven-footer has landed in the right situation to improve his game and become an all-around center.
He has all the skills to succeed in this modern NBA era and his willingness to play on both ends will quickly endear him to Popovich.
If he's given enough time on the court, next season could be a breakout year for Poeltl.
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