Jordan Poole still considered Warriors founding player for Steve Kerr

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors’ big three, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, have now played together for more than a decade.

Andre Iguodala gave them a Big Four and the addition of Kevin Durant created The Hamptons Five.

Shortly after Golden State won its fourth championship under Steve Kerr – and the first since Durant’s departure – Kerr launched the Foundational Six to The Athletic, consisting of Curry, Thompson, Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole.

Wiggins gave the Warriors a new All-Star last season and was also their second-best player throughout their 2022 playoff series. Looney has earned as much respect as anyone inside and outside the locker room , and his perseverance helped him become a vital part of the Warriors’ success. Poole was considered even more than that.

He could be the head of the Warriors’ now long-gone Two Timelines plan, as a young player who emulated Curry, his coaches and teammates pushed for him to be the NBA’s most improved player and played a key role in the Warriors’ victory. all.

But Poole, after video leaked showing he was punched by Green in training camp before cashing in on a contract extension worth a guaranteed $3 million, had a disappointing 2022-23 season and turbulent. Yet Kerr’s conviction has not changed.

Kerr on Tuesday at his season-ending press conference said he still sees Poole as a fundamental part of the Warriors, along with his other five teammates in that group.

“Absolutely,” Kerr said. “I called him one of the six founders at the end of last year, and I still believe him. It’s important to remember that Jordan has done some really good things this year. He’s had a tough time in the playoffs, but he averaged 20 points per game. It’s hard to average 20 points per game in the NBA.

“He helped us win a lot of games. He helped us win a championship a year ago. He would be the first to admit it wasn’t his best season. But that’s how it goes. pass. That’s how careers go.”

Poole enjoyed his breakout campaign in the 2021-22 season as a third-year professional. The previous season, he needed a move to the G League. Then he became the starting shooting guard for the Warriors while Klay Thompson continued to rehabilitate his Achilles and was even better when Thompson was back.

The signs of a star were there, and still were this season, but far less frequently. Poole in Year 3 averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game, and also shot 44.8% from the field, 36.4 % to 3 points and a record 92.5% in free throws.

In the playoffs, he broke records, scoring 86 points in his first three playoff games with 30 points, 29 points and 27 points. He then averaged 17.0 points on 50.8% shooting and made 39.1% of his shots from deep.

What was supposed to be a leap into stardom was a step, or steps, back – starting with reasons out of his hands.

Poole averaged 20 points as Kerr noted, 20.4 to be exact. The efficiency with which he did so has dropped dramatically. His shot selection was questioned throughout the season and Poole’s field goal percentage fell to 43%, the worst since his rookie year.

His 3-point percentage was also his worst since his rookie year, making just 33.6 percent (214) of his 1,278 attempts.

Erratic passing and loose ball handling led Poole to average 3.1 turnovers per game. The Warriors saw him as someone who was going to be a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year as the leading ball handler behind Curry. Instead, he finished fifth in the NBA in total turnovers.

It’s one side of the ball. The other rarely saw the light, seeming stuck at a testing stage most of the time.

“As a coach, it’s my job to help him improve and help him find his rhythm and find a good comfort zone next year,” Kerr continued. “I think the first thing is that he can be more effective. He’s such a talented player that we can help him get better offensive shots and then on the defensive side he’s proven when he gets down to it. , he can fight and get in the fight and hold his own.

“People are going to attack him because that’s the nature of the game. Every NBA game you watch these days, it’s a pick game, so some guys are just going to get picked. I know that he can hold out.

“Those are the areas where we’re really going to work with Jordan, and I know he has the ability to improve tremendously and come back and have a great year next year.”

The party took place eleven months ago. The Warriors were champions again and Poole was seen as the future.

The NBA is also a selection game off the court. Poole is tied to trade rumors this offseason with the franchise trying to rebound from its most disappointing season in years. The Warriors are expected to pay him over $1 million next season and up to $1 million in 2026-27 during his overtime.

Kerr doesn’t look like someone who expects Poole to be gone, and neither does Jordan.

“Yeah, I’m into the fabric,” Poole told The Ringer’s Logan Murdock. “Yes, I belong here in this organization, I’m bridging the gap. And I’m a youngster who was drafted here. We won a championship last year, and we have another chance to do it again. And I don’t don’t know why anyone else would think otherwise.

“I don’t think anyone thinks like that.”

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Of course, the best ability is availability. Poole played in all 82 regular season games and 13 playoff games while battling an ankle injury. The only thing that stopped him from playing all the games in the previous season was COVID. The reliability part has not always been there this season.

The fourth quarter was by far Poole’s weak point in 48 minutes. He shot 40.1% from the field and 29.2% from beyond the arc in the final 12 minutes of regulation. Overtime was no better. Poole was 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 6 of 3 in the Warriors’ five games that went to overtime.

In the playoffs this season, Poole has averaged just 10.8 points on 34.1% shooting and 25.4% from the 3-point line. Kerr took nearly six minutes off Poole’s time on the court from the Warriors’ title run.

Overcoming adversity in the past has been praised by Poole’s teammates and coaches. He exceeded expectations as the former 28th overall pick. He overcame going to the G League. The wellness story has also run its course.

Poole worked his way into the Warriors’ Foundational Six. Now the spotlight shines if there is any doubt about the expiration date. The Warriors front office bet that day was far away once before, and it’s up to them whether they continue to cling to that thought or not.

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