Jordan Poole is no longer a secret in the NBA. The third-year guard is having the best season of his young career for the Golden State Warriors.
The offensive punch that Poole has provided has been a huge key to the Warriors’ 29-9 start this season. He’s averaging career bests in several statistical categories, including 17.5 points per game and shooting 44.5% from the field.
Poole hasn’t always been a hot commodity, he fell to the Warriors at the 28th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. According to a story from The Athletic though, he was on the Warriors radar early:
Back in 2018, when Warriors general manager Bob Myers took his seat at the United Center, he asked assistant GM Mike Dunleavy who he should have his eye on during the Big Ten conference tournament they were scouting.
‘He’s like, ‘You gotta watch this Poole guy,’’ Myers said.
As the article notes, Poole’s numbers weren’t eye popping. He averaged 12.8 points per game on 43.6% shooting. The things that drew them to Poole were the three skills the Warriors covet: his dribbling, passing, and shooting. The thing that really sold the team though was his work ethic.
“I think what kept me as a fan was his work ethic,” Myers told The Athletic. “When you talk to college coaches and you see these intel reports, it’s always, ‘Last guy in the gym, and first guy there.’ And, ‘Great kid, one of the best I’ve ever coached.’ There’s so much of that hyperbole around players that you really kind of gloss over. You don’t know until you know. And I think with Jordan — he’s the one. He does have a desire to work that’s his own. I wish we could say we did that. But you’ve got to have that desire. And we found that he did.”
The work ethic has certainly paid off for Poole early in his career. His stats have improved in the major statistical categories in each of his first three seasons. Possibly the best example of Poole’s work ethic in the article comes from this excerpt when he was in quarantine through Christmas: “Even when he was trapped in a Boston hotel, quarantining for 10 days as part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Poole was working. The Warriors training staff left some jump ropes and resistance bands behind. He spent his holiday in the Four Seasons doing burpees, mountain climbers and whatever he could to keep up his cardio.”
The Impact of Poole
The Warriors struggled last season without Klay Thompson in the lineup. They finished with a 39-33 record and were bounced by the Lakers in the play-in tournament. This season Thompson still hasn’t played so far, but things are drastically better for the Warriors. So what’s been the difference? One of the biggest differences is the improvement of Poole.
This season he’s jumped from 12 points per game to 17.5, a true testament to his work ethic. Beyond the typical stats Poole is 11th in the league in points per shot attempt, an improvement from last season when he was 34th, according to Cleaning the Glass. His assist percentage of 18.1 ranks 31st in the league, where last season he was 57th. Poole ranks eighth in the league in two-point percentage at 57.5, an improvement from last season when he ranked 19th at 52.9%. His effective field goal percentage this season ranks 14th at 54.1, a jump from last season when he ranked 50th at 51.3%.
That amount of improvement in that many categories is truly impressive. It’s a testament to the work that Poole has put in on his craft. It also continues to speak volumes on the Warriors scouting and player development.