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Jakob Poeltl says it’s scary to think DeMar DeRozan will play with chip on his shoulder

Jakob Poeltl, Raptors, Spurs, DeMar DeRozan

The San Antonio Spurs introduced center Jakob Poeltl, part of the package the team received in exchange after trading Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan. Shortly after his formal welcome to the club, the 7-footer expressed his sincere worry for the rest of the league, knowing that his partner DeRozan would unleash the fury in his first season as a Spur.

“It’s a little big scary, to be honest,” Poeltl said, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News, “because I know what he can do when he has a chip on his shoulder, when he gets that extra motivation. Yeah, I think he’s going to be ready.”

DeRozan was visibly upset with how the trade went down and the way he was kept in the dark by Raptors president Masai Ujiri when asking if he was involved in the trade.

The perennial scorer will now go from a place of betrayal to arguably the most loyal team in the league, known to honor players’ contracts until they expire.

DeRozan transformed his game during his last season with the Raptors, becoming much more than just a scorer with mid-range mastery, but now a much more involved playmaker.

“The great thing about him is what he has learned over these past few years, especially last year,” Poeltl said. “He is really good about making reads now and taking over a game and (knowing) when to take over a game. Everyone knows he can take over a game and score 30, 40 points, but then you have games where the defense adjusts to him and he finds his teammates.”

If he can take all this knowledge to his first season with the Spurs, it wouldn’t surprise to see San Antonio back in the playoff race despite losing a top-five talent in Leonard.