Over the last year, the only thing constant for Jordan Poole has been change.
The Golden State Warriors guard had an almost unprecedented mid-season jump in 2021, going from an inconsistent 21-year-old splitting time between Golden State and the team’s G League affiliate to one of the most important players off the bench and one of the strongest scoring threats behind Steph Curry.
Poole went through even more changes this season, opening the season in the starting lineup before moving back to the bench with the return of Klay Thompson. Now, after he’s moved beyond some mid-season struggles, Poole is once again finding his role shifting.
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Poole Bounces Back
After a strong start to this season, Poole began to struggle when Thompson came back from a 2.5-year injury absence and moved into the starting lineup. Poole averaged 14.1 points per game in February, shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Poole appears to have moved beyond the slump and has been on a tear of late, averaging 22 points over his last five games on 57.7 percent shooting from the field, hitting 52.6 percent of his three-pointers. In Tuesday’s 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Poole scored 20 points off the bench joined Curry and Thompson in the Warriors’ closing lineup.
After the game, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he liked the look of the three natural scorers on the floor at the same time and hinted that Poole could spend more time with the unit.
“I do like the Jordan [Poole], Steph [Curry], Klay [Thompson] combination,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “There’s a lot of proof that those three guys play well together.”
Curry spoke highly of the closing lineup as well, noting that opposing teams face a very difficult choice in which player to focus on stopping.
“You got Klay running the wing, me or Jordan bringing it up and it’s kind of a pick your poison type of vibe,” Curry said. “Tonight was a good night for our stretch of minutes.”
More Changes Coming for Warriors
Poole may not want to get too comfortable in the closing lineup, as there are more changes on the way for the Warriors. Defensive stopper Draymond Green, who has been a fixture in the closing lineup, is set to return from a back injury later this month. Veteran Andre Iguodala is close to coming back as well, while second-year center James Wiseman has just been assigned to the G League Santa Cruz Warriors and could be back before the end of the regular season.
Kerr said that all three could be back soon, and that Green and Iguodala will move back into important roles in the rotation.
“Draymond and Andre are both doing well, and James is doing well,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s three of our most athletic players. In Draymond’s case, our most important defensive player. In Andre’s case, one of our best overall players. Both Draymond and Andre will be able to handle some of the point forward duties that Steph (Curry) is accustomed to them handling, and he can play off the ball, and we can get back to playing our usual style. I’m looking forward to it.