It wasn’t long ago that the basketball world considered Warriors guard Jordan Poole an afterthought. But now, he has a chance to make an impact in his third season in Golden State, just as he did toward the end of his just-completed second season.
And he has the chance to begin the the 2021-22 campaign as a starter for coach Steve Kerr. The Warriors have to decide who will keep G Klay Thompson’s spot warm until he returns from injury. But still, Poole has come a long way to even be considered for this important role.
Tim Kawakami of The Athletic asked Kerr who he’s inclined to hand that responsibility to, and Kerr said he’s leaning toward Poole as his starting “two” guard to open the season, though it’s by no means a done deal.
“My gut reaction is Jordan Poole. But that’s without having seen anybody at camp, that’s without having seen our rookies or Otto Porter, (Mychal) Mulder, Damion Lee with the rest of the group. It could be any of those guys.
“But Jordan played so well last year. He’s really on the rise. He’s having a great summer. Our coaches have raved about him and the work he’s putting in this summer. So I think he’s got a great chance to start.”–Steve KerrThe Athletic
Kerr definitely throws a lot of players into the mix, including rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. They’re wild cards, but Mychal Mulder and Damion Lee are steady players and keep the ball moving in Kerr’s motion offense.
Plus, Kerr mentioned that starting Poole could negatively impact his bench. He has the makings of an elite sixth man, too. Kerr is just happy to have Poole in the conversation, however, after a rough first season-and-a-half of his NBA career.
“But it’s just great to be thinking about Jordan in those terms. Whereas a year ago we were still unsure with what we had, I think we feel really strongly in Jordan’s ability to impact our team in a lot of different ways.”–Steve KerrThe Athletic
Poole’s emergence comes at a crucial time for Kerr and the Warriors. With a salary cap stretched beyond its limits, Golden State needs contributors with affordable contracts, and Poole’s rookie deal definitely applies. It would be fun to see him as a starter, but no matter what, Poole figures to have plenty of responsibility on Kerr’s squad in 2021-22, even well after Thompson’s return.