Pöltl with Raptors in 2018
|No. 25 – San Antonio Spurs|
October 15, 1995|
|Listed height||7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)|
|Listed weight||230 lb (104 kg)|
|NBA draft||2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9th overall|
|Selected by the Toronto Raptors|
|2018–present||San Antonio Spurs|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Jakob Pöltl (German pronunciation: ['ja:kop 'pœltl]; born October 15, 1995) is an Austrian professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Utah Utes. In his sophomore year, Pöltl was a consensus second-team All-American, and won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and Pete Newell Big Man Award as the top collegiate center and low-post player, respectively. After the season, he declared for the 2016 NBA draft, where the Toronto Raptors selected him in the first round with the ninth overall pick.
Pöltl was born in Vienna, Austria. Both his parents were members of the Austrian national volleyball teams. His parents opted for basketball because there was a youth basketball program near their Vienna home during his childhood. He played one year for the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian Bundesliga in 2013–14.
Pöltl was relatively unknown in the United States until the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. University of Utah assistant Andy Hill went to the tournament, held in Macedonia, largely to scout potential prospects from other teams; he only saw Austria's opening game against the Netherlands because he vowed to watch all 38 teams in person. After seeing Pöltl's 15-rebound performance, Hill began sounding Pöltl out for potential interest in playing college basketball in the United States. Pöltl went on to average a double-double in points and rebounds during the tournament and was named to the second all-tournament team, despite Austria going 1–6 and finishing 20th out of 22 teams in the second-level Division B.
Pöltl began drawing interest from several NCAA Division I programs, forcing him to decide between a professional career and a U.S. college education. In a 2014 interview, Pöltl revealed part of his decision-making process:
If I went pro in Europe, I probably wouldn't have a chance to go to a university and get my degree. . . . I could have basketball and an education at the same time [in the U.S.]. Also I think I wasn't ready for 100 percent professional basketball at that time.
In 2014, Pöltl committed to Utah to play college basketball. According to Yahoo! Sports writer Jeff Eisenberg, "the biggest reason Pöltl chose Utah was the relationship he had built with the Utes staff." Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak was one of three Division I head coaches and two assistant coaches to travel to Vienna to recruit him in person, and made the trip of over 5,000 miles (8,000 km) twice. Pöltl was impressed that Krystkowiak made the effort to visit with him in person, and Eisenberg added that Pöltl "also liked the idea of being coached by a 6-foot-9 former NBA forward with a history of developing young big men."
Pöltl became a starter in his first year, and in his first game he scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds. During his second season in 2015–16, he was named to the 35-man midseason watchlist for the Naismith Trophy on February 11. On March 7, 2016, Pöltl was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-Pac-12 First Team. He was subsequently named the winner of both the Pete Newell Big Man Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award.
On June 23, 2016, Pöltl was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, becoming the first ever Austrian to be drafted to the NBA. On July 9, 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Raptors. He made his debut for the Raptors in their season opener on October 26, 2016, becoming the first Austrian to play in the NBA. He finished with two points in 12:47 of court time in a 109–91 win over the Detroit Pistons. During his rookie season, Pöltl received multiple assignments to Raptors 905, Toronto's D-League affiliate.
On October 21, 2017, Pöltl scored a then career-high 14 points in a 128–94 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. On December 1, 2017, he made all eight of his field goal attempts and had a career-high 18 points in a 120–115 win over the Indiana Pacers. Pöltl ended the 2017–18 regular season having made 34 of his last 39 shots in the final eight games. He was also the only Raptors player to appear in all 82 regular-season contests.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
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