Winner: The Raptors’ defense
Masai Ujiri may have ruffled some feathers when he claimed that Poeltl was one of the 10 best centers in the league, but his defensive excellence and interior finishing make that statement less bombastic than it appears. The former trait is what really makes him such a dynamic player.
Toronto was leaps and bounds better when Poeltl was on the floor, with their much-improved defense helping the Raptors gut out some victories despite poor shooting and half-court offense around him. Losing Poeltl would have given the Raptors a massive hole they lacked the funds to address properly.
Jakob Poeltl will help out the Toronto Raptors.
Poeltl is coming to a Raptors team that is coached by Darko Rajakovic, who helped turn Steven Adams into one of the most reliable bigs in the game in Oklahoma City and Jaren Jackson Jr. into a Defensive Player of the Year with Memphis. Poeltl could thrive in that system.
Toronto is still going to be a defense-first team, as many of the players that Ujiri is going to lean on will be defense-first players. Poeltl is the archetypical Raptors center, and his contract shows the belief Toronto has in their shiny new prize in the middle.