Poeltl reflects on returning to Raptors and what he’s learned from his time away

A lot has changed since the Toronto Raptors traded Jakob Poeltl to the San Antonio Spurs back in 2018. The Raptors used the trade’s return to win a championship, and Poeltl used his opportunity to flourish into one of the more reliable old-school centres in the NBA. 

Nearly five years later, the two parties are reunited. Though, from the Austrian’s recent stretch since the deadline, it doesn’t appear there was much catching up to do.

Poeltl discussed his return to Toronto and how his game changed during his tenure with the Spurs in an interview Wednesday on The Raptors Show with Will Lou.

“I was aware of the rumors. I was aware that there were conversations going with the Raptors, maybe a couple of other teams as well,” said Poeltl. “When I found out, I was excited — I was excited to come back.” 

The Raptors are 7-6 since his return, but Poeltl has stuck out as a perfect fit for a team that was struggling to find minutes from the centre position before the deadline. 

In 13 games, Poeltl is averaging 14.7 points per game, 9.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks all while shooting 69.7 per cent from the field, good enough to crack the top 10 in the NBA. 

“It’s been a very seamless process for me,” said the big man on his impactful return to the team. “A lot of the staff here are still the same, obviously the players have changed a little bit, but there’s still a couple of players out there that I have played with.” 

The familiarity shows on the court and no game was it clearer than in his third contest with the Raptors against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 14, where Poeltl shot 15-for-17 and scored a game-high 30 points, only one away from his career high.

The Raptors Show with Will Lou

Will Lou and Alex Wong talk all things Raptors live on Sportsnet 590 The FAN weekdays from 2 – 3 p.m. ET.

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: 200px 1fr;
gap: 20px;
width: 100%;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 16px;
border: 1px solid #CECECE;
background-color: #FFF;
border-radius: 4px;
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info a {
text-decoration: none;
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-title {
color: #343434;
font-family: ‘roboto’;
font-size: 20px;
font-weight: 600;
line-height: 22px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
top: -3px;
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-body {
color: #343434;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 12px;
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title {
display: inline-block;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
list-style-type: none;
width: auto;
.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title:not(:last-child):after {
content: ‘ | ‘;
color: #343434;

During his stint in San Antonio, Poeltl wasn’t only given the freedom as a starting centre that he didn’t have in Toronto with Jonas Valanciunas in front of him, but he also had one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time, Gregg Popovich, to guide his growth. 

“Playing for a coach like Coach Pop, getting to develop in a system like they have at the Spurs worked out really well for me,” said the 27-year-old. “(After being traded), there was a little bit of a shock, but then I saw opportunity, and I wanted to grab that opportunity.” 

While Poeltl polished his game over the years, so too have the Raptors players with which he came into the league. 

“They’ve become NBA superstars,” chuckled Poeltl. “You can just tell there’s a different step to them.”

While the Raptors still hope to convert Poeltl’s terrific play into better results down the final stretch of the season, his return has been a welcomed one for players, management and especially fans to rally around during what has been a rough campaign. 

Poeltl will look to string another effective game together as his side takes on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet ONE and SN NOW.

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper {
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(2, 1fr);
gap: 20px;

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper a {
pointer-events: none;
cursor: default;
text-decoration: none;
color: black;

Source Link






Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.