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Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl says he can learn from Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol

Jakob Poeltl, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol

The San Antonio Spurs finally moved on from the Kawhi Leonard drama when the team shipped the 2014 Finals MVP to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for elite scorer DeMar DeRozan. One of the overlooked players in the deal was young Austrian big man Jakob Poeltl.

With a chance to learn the ropes from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and six-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, Poeltl mentioned the likes of Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol as two big men he is excited to work with, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

“Pau is like a really experienced big guy, a European guy I can learn a lot from,” Poeltl said. “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.”

Like the two-time NBA champion Gasol, Poeltl reflects a prototype European big man. He is light on his feet, has a nice soft touch around the rim, and has a good mid-range shot to rely on.

Despite a dip in his minutes in the playoffs last year, Poeltl showed glimpses of his potential as he cracked a consistent spot in the Raptors’ rotation in the regular season. In a loss against the Miami Heat last April 11, the big man racked up 16 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Charles Barkley views Poeltl as “one of the most underrated players in the NBA.”

Poeltl will be expected to contribute as a quality role player for the Spurs this upcoming season.