Building Block: Jakob Poeltl
Jakob Poeltl has proven himself more indispensable in his second stint with the Raptors than the first. He should be part of the core going forward, though his age may limit how long he can stick around in Toronto.
The big man's numbers don't leap off the page. Through 36 games, he was averaging 10.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. His most impressive counting stat is probably 1.4 blocks per contest. If he continues his hot run of play since heading north, he'll be worth every penny.
The former lottery pick, who's currently contending with an ankle injury, isn't nearly as young as other members of the Raptors' future core. He turned 28 years old before the start of the season and is in the midst of his eighth NBA season.
Poeltl is under a long-term contract, though. He's getting paid $19.5 million for this season an the next two, then holds a player option at the same amount for the 2026-27 season. By that point, the Raptors could find themselves back in contention.
There are surely more players who will play an instrumental role in the next great Toronto Raptors era. Masai Ujiri isn't working from an empty cupboard, though.