The Golden State Warriors are entering the 2021-22 NBA season as potential playoff contenders after missing the postseason the past two years. Stephen Curry is fresh from having an MVP-type season, Draymond Green proved he is still good after helping Team USA win an Olympic gold medal and Klay Thompson is finally returning after two years out with injuries.
However, the Golden State Warriors will be very cautious with Thompson, who is coming back from a torn left ACL in 2019 and a ruptured right Achilles tendon last year. Golden State is expected to have Klay back in the lineup sometime in December or January.
Last season, Kelly Oubre Jr. was acquired via trade to become the Golden State Warriors’ starting shooting guard, but he never found his rhythm. The team let him walk in free agency this summer, as Oubre joined the Charlotte Hornets on a two-year deal. The Warriors knew that they already have a starter in place for the first two or three months of the season, Jordan Poole.
The Golden State Warriors drafted Poole out of Michigan with the 28th pick in 2019. In his rookie year, Poole played 57 games and started 14 of them in what was a lost season for the Warriors. Last season, the 22-year-old guard showed improvement, especially towards the end. He played with a lot of confidence and it carried into this season, which makes head coach Steve Kerr a very happy man.
“He was a very skilled player coming out of the draft, so it was a matter of really figuring out the speed of the game, figuring out what he needed to do, where his shots could come from,” Kerr said. “We've all talked about how hard he's worked and I thought the bubble last year in Orlando was really important for him. He was able to make mistakes and understand them ... and then when he came back at the end of the year he had a lot of confidence. He's just carried that over into this year.”
How important will Jordan Poole be for the Golden State Warriors this season?
With Klay Thompson out until December or January, the Golden State Warriors have to rely on Jordan Poole to hold the fort until the five-time All-Star returns. And even if Thompson returns, the Warriors are not expected to play him a ton of minutes immediately. Golden State understands that they have to slowly integrate Thompson to avoid further setbacks.
As for Poole, it seems like he is comfortable as the team’s starting shooting guard already. He has played with confidence and swagger in all three preseason games for the Golden State Warriors. Poole exploded for 30 points while showing his improved playmaking with five assists against the Portland Trail Blazers in their first preseason game.
Poole followed it up with a 17-point performance against the Denver Nuggets. He got cold against the Nuggets but he adjusted and took it to the rack to open things up for his teammates. In his most recent preseason game against the LA Lakers, Poole left no doubt that he could play alongside Stephen Curry, who led the way with 30 points. The third-year guard scored 28 points, hitting six triples on 46.2% shooting beyond the arc, including this ridiculous stepback.
Yes, it is still just the preseason but Jordan Poole is the real deal and poised for a breakout. Not only is he going to be a key player for the Golden State Warriors, but he will also be the team’s trump card. Poole will perfectly slot in alongside Stephen Curry in the starting lineup or serve as the team’s sixth man once Klay Thompson fully returns, giving Steve Kerr a lot of options.
The confidence Poole has in his shot makes him deadly for opposing defenses either as a starter or off the bench. Poole's fast development is now a premium for the Golden State Warriors after a couple of seasons without any real depth. With his streaky shooting, Poole will have free reign to shoot and his improved playmaking is an added bonus to the second unit.
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Q. Will Jordan Poole have a breakout campaign with the Golden State Warriors this season?
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