Toronto Raptors: Grades for the past five first round picks

Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Jakob Poeltl draft – (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Jakob Poeltl

The only lottery selection of Masai Ujiri’s tenure, Jakob Poeltl was a solid, if unspectacular, selection.

Another Utah Ute, Poeltl was teammates with the Raptors’ 2015 selection, Delon Wright. Like Wright, Poeltl was extremely productive coming out of college. Unlike Wright, Poeltl was only 20 at the time he was selected.

During his final season in Utah, Poeltl averaged 17.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. He was the leader of a 27-9 team and won Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Poeltl didn’t experience the same level of success his rookie season. Joining an already competitive team, Poeltl initially struggled to find playing time. During his first season Poeltl averaged just 12 minutes and three points per game, although by the end of the regular season he was at least enjoying consistent minutes.

During his second season Poeltl took a significant step forward, averaging 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in under 20 minutes per game. More importantly, Poeltl took major strides defensively last season as well.

Now part of the Kawhi Leonard trade, Poeltl’s development won’t have any impact on Toronto’s future. However, on his currently trajectory it seems reasonable to project Poeltl as a low-end starter.

When looking at players selected after Poeltl there are certainly a couple of players who would have made for better choices, when drafting this high there almost always is. Taurean Prince and  Dejounte Murray stick out as two prominent examples. (It seems reasonable to not  count Pascal Siakam against Ujiri for this purpose)

But Marquese Chriss and Thon Maker sandwiching the Poeltl selection serve as a nice reminder that many picks in the late lottery don’t workout as planned.

Overall Grade: B