In a vacuum — or for people who value counting stats above all else — there wasn’t much to be gleaned from Donte DiVincenzo’s return performance for the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Playing for the first time in nine games, the combo guard logged just 16 minutes against the Cavaliers, missing his only shot attempt, dishing three assists and grabbing a rebound.
However, his presence appeared to have a significant effect on Jordan Poole, who has struggled mightily to meet with massive expectations after signing and even massiv-er contract extension last month.
Poole scored 18 points on 13 shots in the contest, hitting four three-point bombs along the way. It was his most efficient offensive night since his 30-piece against the Pistons back on October 30. Moreover, it was the first time he showed up on the positive side of the plus/minus ledger since Oct. 29 at the Hornets.
Those aren’t the only numbers suggesting that DiVincenzo — who was practically Poole’s shadow at times during training camp — returning lifted the baller, either.
Poole & Donte D a Winning Combo?
Entering the campaign, there was a sense that DiVincenzo sharing the court with Poole would take the pressure of being an initiator/playmaker off of the latter, freeing him up to focus on impacting games with his scoring. And while Poole didn’t go off for 40 or anything — that was left for Steph to do — his minutes were definitely better with DiVincenzo alongside him.
In the 16 minutes that the two spent on the hardwood together on Friday, the Warriors outscored Cleveland by 13.9 points per 100 possessions. Moreover, there was clear improvement on both sides of the ball (against a very good offensive team).
For the year, Poole’s O-rating and D-rating check in at 101.8 and 115.9, respectively, which equates to a net rating of minus-14.1. During their shared minutes versus the Cavs, though, those numbers were 117.2 and 103.3 for a net rating of 13.9.
There were moments where Poole and DiVincenzo showed some chemistry on the court, too, like when the latter threaded the needle with a bounce pass to catch the former on the move for a key triple as the Dubs trailed midway through the final frame.
Of course, a one-game sample isn’t enough to say that Poole has turned any kind of corner. And his pairing with DiVincenzo is actually negative for the year, but the ballers clearly have a blueprint to follow and build off of as the season unfolds.
DiVincenzo Aiming to Lift Poole
During his first, big, post-injury media availability, DiVincenzo made it clear that getting Poole back on track was going to be a top priority for him.
“I’m not going to come in here and try and be a hero Friday night,” DiVincenzo said of his return, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Just coming in with that second unit and letting Jordan get back to letting his mind be free. Let him go out there and do his thing…
“For me, it’s to let the offense keep moving, facilitate everything and then when it comes back to JP, he doesn’t have so much pressure to initiate everything. And then try and be aggressive and score the ball. I’ll take a little bit of that load off of him, get people in the right positions and then, when it comes back to him, he can just boogie and do his thing.”