The Golden State Warriors were unable to land a fourth superstar through free agency this offseason, but they may be in the process of developing something more valuable.
Third-year guard Jordan Poole is likely to start for the Dubs until All-Star Klay Thompson returns from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. The timeline of that return remains uncertain, but it isn’t likely to happen until sometime during the mid-regular season.
But Anthony Slater, of The Athletic, believes Poole’s contributions will remain central to the Warriors’ success regardless of when Thompson returns. Poole’s performance during the Dubs’ preseason opener on Monday, October 4 only added credence to the notion that he will be a crucial piece for Golden State throughout the 2021-22 season.
Poole Opens Preseason With Monster Performance
Poole, who Slater predicts will start at shooting guard in Thompson’s stead, is entering his third year with the Warriors. He made 51 appearances for Golden State last season, averaging 12 points per game along with 2.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds.
While those numbers read as pedestrian at best, Poole’s progression over the offseason and during the team’s first preseason game Monday night indicate a considerable leap in production is on the immediate horizon.
Poole put up 30 points against the Portland Trailblazers Monday, dropping in seven 3-pointers and adding five assists over 22 minutes of court time. Slater wrote in an article published after the game that he believes Poole will pull 25 to 30 minutes of playing time on average this season, either as a replacement starter for Thompson or as the team’s primary offensive option off the bench once Thompson returns.
“He’s one of our best players,” Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr said following the game against the Blazers. “What we have to determine is how he holds up defensively with the different lineups. But when you have a guy that explosive, you have to get him on the floor as much as possible.”
“We know him and Steph (Curry) play well together,” Kerr continued. “If they can hold up defensively, they’re going to be out there a lot.”
Poole Part of Ridiculous Statistical Night For Dubs to Open Preseason
The Warriors heaved up 69 three-point shot attempts Monday night against the Blazers, a total that outpaced the franchise’s all-time regular season high by 15 shots from deep, according to Slater’s postgame article.
While the Dubs aren’t likely to attempt near 70 three-pointers in most regular season games, the statistic does offer some insight into what Warriors fans should expect when the team starts playing games that count.
“I haven’t said one word to the group about how many 3’s we’re trying to take,” Kerr said after the game. “This is not anything I’ve done analytically. We just have a roster with a lot of floor spacing. We’re just moving the ball and getting a lot of good looks.”
“We’re going to get up a ton.”
Slater said that Monday’s statistic and the team’s roster combine to indicate that the Warriors will shoot more 3-pointers than they ever have in franchise history. And whether he does so as a starter or a bench player, Poole will be a big part of that.