The Toronto Raptors' new-look offense looks much better after acquiring players like RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in the OG Anunoby trade, but Jakob Poeltl averaging a double-double since the trade went down while maintaining his defensive excellence has also contributed to the recent uptick.
This improvement makes his recent injury news even more crushing to hear about. Poeltl will be sidelined for the next two weeks at a minimum after suffering an ankle injury against the Golden State Warriors. The new-look starting lineup has suffered a serious blow without his presence.
The Raptors have minimal depth behind Poeltl, as the recent trade of Precious Achiuwa and continued issues plaguing Christian Koloko have left them all but tapped out of possible fill-in centers on NBA deals. If Toronto is to stay above water after the Poeltl injury, the team will need some stellar performances from their big men.
Toronto risks the potential of seeing their improvements in the last few weeks getting thrown aside by more losses if this trio of players does not take it upon themselves to play some of the best basketball of his career. Replacing Poeltl will be tough, but certainly not impossible.
3 Toronto Raptors who must step up after Jakob Poeltl injury.
3. Jontay Porter
All G League guys can ask for is an opportunity to come knocking, and Porter is going to have the shot of a lifetime to show he is going to stick around in the NBA long-term. Porter is on a two-way contract right now, but he could earn a life-changing contract if he can impress in this stint.
Even in his limited action, it's become quite clear that Porter is putting together some solid NBA tape. His defense has been interesting (in a good way), and he's been a willing and able pick-and-pop threat from 3-point range. Will those skills hold up against names like Ivica Zubac and Kristaps Porzingis? That remains to be seen.
Jontay Porter will get minutes for the Toronto Raptors without Jakob Poeltl.
Porter may not be the best athlete in the world, but he can run the floor quite well for a player his size. That added mobility, without sacrificing his pesky nature in the paint, might be his meal ticket to replacing Poeltl effectively. His shooting will add yet another dimension to the offense Poeltl lacks.
Having averaged 4.0 assists per game in 27 minutes per contest during the G League Showcase Cup, Porter has shown to be a well above-average passer for a big man in the past. Poeltl's ability to keep the ball moving was invaluable to Toronto, and it falls on Porter to keep everything fluid.