The Warriors will finally have superstars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson healthy at the same time as the NBA Playoffs tip-off on Saturday, but one of Golden State’s youngsters, guard Jordan Poole, might be just as important to a potential championship run.
He’s improved drastically as the season has progressed, turning into a potential superstar in his own right during Curry’s late-season absence. The Warriors’ crew of veterans, including former NBA Finals MVP Adre Iguodala, have a lot to do with his rise, too — thanks in part to a season’s worth of constructive criticism.
Iguodala praised the 22-year-old playmaker as the playoffs crept near, saying, among other things, that Poole has taken “a beating” when it comes to constructive criticism this year.
“And, you know, we’re getting him on the defensive end too,” Iguodala said after calling Poole max-contract worthy. “He’s been taking a beating on our constructive criticism. But he’s taking it, which says a lot about a kid from that generation.”The Athletic
Honestly, my first thought reading this was “whoa, Andre slow down about that max contract!” The Warriors’ salary cap is stretched as it is. But more importantly, Poole is mature enough to handle his critics, who obviously have his best interests in mind.
Poole is considered one of the Warriors’ hardest-working players, however, so he gets most of the credit for his play. But his defense, mentioned by Iguodala, and his ability to get to the free-throw line are perhaps two aspects of his game that have improved thanks to his vets telling him what it takes to thrive in the NBA Playoffs.
Now, Poole’s challenge awaits in the first round against the Nuggets. He appears ready. But that he’s also ready to receive instruction from his team elders while remaining humble. And that could be as important as his elite skill, as the Warriors attempt to win in all with their championship core once again.