Head coach Steve Kerr on Tuesday, October 19 announced that he would stagger the minutes of All-Star guard Steph Curry and his third-year backcourt companion Jordan Poole to guarantee that at least one of them is always in the lineup. The two are both part of the opening night starting 5, which also includes forwards Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, as well as big man Kevon Looney.
Anthony Slater, of The Athletic, first reported the news via Twitter.
“Steve Kerr said he plans to stagger Steph Curry’s and Jordan Poole’s rotation patterns to open the season, having at least one on the floor at all times,” Slater wrote Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the Dubs opened the regular season on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Poole Earned Kerr’s Confidence as Dubs’ Second Scorer During Breakout Preseason Performance
Kerr’s declaration elevates Poole to an entirely new offensive status as the 2021-22 season begins.
The guard averaged 12 points per game over 51 appearances last season with the Dubs, complemented by 2.2 assists per night and 1.9 rebounds. He was particularly effective during a late season stretch run that saw the Warriors fall an overtime period short of the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
But it was Poole’s performance over the course of this summer, and particularly during the preseason, that indicated both what the team will ask of him on the offensive end until Thompson is able to return, and what he is capable of providing.
Poole averaged 21.8 points per contest over the course of five appearances, good enough to slot him fourth in preseason scoring throughout the entire NBA, per CBSSports.com.
The Warriors will need similar production from Poole throughout the first several months of the season if they hope to remain relevant, as most projections have Thompson returning to active status sometime around Christmas 2021. At that point, Poole is likely to move to the bench in a 6th man role.
Dubs Add More Backcourt Help to Roster Ahead of Season Opener
The Dubs have added other backcourt reinforcements to the team to help bridge the gap between opening night and the return to a fully healthy roster.
The most recent addition was Gary Payton II, who was officially added back to the team Tuesday after an up-and-down run with the team dating back to last season.
Payton played in 10 games for the Dubs last year, posting an average of 2.5 points per game. But unlike Poole, Payton is on the roster for his defense.
Slater noted in September that Payton had positioned himself as the frontrunner for Golden State’s 15th and final roster spot, the status of which remained uncertain all the way until opening night because of the luxury tax implications for the team by filling it.
Ultimately, the Warriors decided to bring Payton back after waiving him, and three other players, Friday, October 15. He was an available member of the roster heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Lakers.