Warriors Coach Explains Huge Role Jordan Poole May Play Next Season

Jordan Poole

Getty Jordan Poole goes for a layup in a game against the Houston Rockets.

Jordan Poole was slated in as a G-Leaguer and part-time member of the Golden State Warriors this season, but a mid-season hot streak now has him in line for a significant role for the team next year.

The backup guard has filled in for Steph Curry while he was out with a tailbone injury and has secured a spot with the second unit, showing a dramatic improvement in his second NBA season. As Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said this week, Poole’s play will likely earn him a big promotion next season.

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Poole to Play Sixth Man

Poole was the star in Friday’s 125-122 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which nearly the entire Warriors starting lineup was out to rest and prepare for the season finale against the Memphis Grizzlies, a game that will determine play-in tournament seeding. Poole notched a career-high 38 points including the game-winning layup. As NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole noted, Kerr was full of praise and envisioned the backup guard as the first off the bench for the Warriors next season.

“He’s really explosive, as you saw tonight and as you’ve seen over the last couple months,” Kerr said. “As we look ahead, I think he’s going to be a Sixth Man. He’s really capable of getting 20 any night. It’s so great to have scoring off the bench.”

As Kerr added, the Warriors are thinking ahead to the return of Klay Thompson next season and need to plan the lineup accordingly. Thompson will slide back into the starting lineup, but Poole is now seen as a reliable scorer to lead the second unit.

“As we look to next year and beyond, getting Klay back, Jordan would be a really good candidate for Sixth Man, a guy who can come in and give you points when the starters are on the bench,” he said.

Poole’s Dramatic Improvement

The potential promotion for Poole comes as something of a surprise given where he was just a few months ago. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau wrote earlier this year that he had never seen such a dramatic midseason improvement for a player, especially since Poole had difficulty fine-tuning his game in the abbreviated G-League season.

“In the first month-plus of the season, he still looked a bit lost at times, attempting ill-advised jumpers and needlessly dribbling,” Letourneau wrote. “Even at the G League bubble, Poole struggled with turnovers and his 3-point shot. But since returning to Golden State two weeks ago, he has looked so poised and polished.”

Poole could continue to play a key role as the Warriors prepare for the play-in tournament and the possibility of a playoff series to follow. Wing Kelly Oubre Jr. remains out with a torn ligament in his wrist, an injury that has bothered him for much of the back half of the season. Oubre had been the team’s second-best scoring option behind Curry this year, though Poole has picked up some of the slack, averaging 16 points per game over the last 10 games.

READ NEXT: Steph Curry Gets Honest About His Long-Term Future With the Warriors

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