With Klay Thompson’s return looming and Coach Steve Kerr naming him the starter when he returns, the Warriors have decided to bring Jordan Poole off the bench as he recently returned from health and safety protocols.
Better Fit Off the Bench?
Poole has certainly been successful this season as a starter for the Warriors, averaging career highs across the board in points, rebounds, assists, and FG% – just to name some of them. While playing with the Warriors starting group has played a big role in that, I think Poole playing 6th man for this Warriors team puts him in a role that suits him even better and makes the Warriors even better.
As well as Poole has meshed with the Warriors starting group, he gives me JR Smith type of vibes, and I mean that in a good way.
Now, Poole isn’t the on-court character that JR Smith was, but he’s one of those guards who is absolutely at his best when he’s asked to just go out there and put the ball in the basket. Yes, he has shown the ability to play within the Warriors system and he’s not going to be fully let loose like a JR Smith, Lou Williams, or Jamal Crawford, mainly because that’s not how the Warriors play. But instead of Poole just being another option when he’s on the court, he’ll be the #1 option a lot more often now that he’s coming off the bench.
While I’m sure Kerr and the rest of the Warriors’ coaching staff don’t want to stray too far away from their system, I suspect Poole will get a little more leeway to just do his own thing out there from time to time, especially when he’s out there with a bench heavy lineup.
Poole is capable of scoring 30+ on just about any given night, and inserting Thompson into the starting unit and bringing Poole off the bench adds to their offensive firepower. A top 5 offense in the NBA hasn’t even reached full strength yet. Think about that.
Poole Explodes in His 2nd Game Off the Bench
In Poole’s first game off the bench, he played just 17 minutes and contributed 10 points on 6 shots, but on Monday night against a relatively depleted Miami Heat team, Poole was firing on all cylinders.
He came out the gates scorching hot with 14 points in the first quarter and the first 12 minutes of this game really how Poole coming off the bench makes the Warriors that much more lethal. Stephen Curry played just 4 and a half minutes in the first and he couldn’t find his rhythm but with Poole substituting in and playing a big chunk of minutes with the starters, they didn’t really miss a beat with Curry on the bench.
Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, and Gary Payton II were out there headhunting screens to get Poole open and were making an effort to get him the ball and it paid off. They essentially treated him like he was Curry and while Poole isn’t on that level, he can score with the best of them when he has it going and that’s what he came in and did in the first quarter.
Poole is an upgrade over Damion Lee who has tried to serve as the Warriors scoring guard off the bench thus far into the season. While he’s done a solid job contributing off the bench, he’s not a natural scorer or shot creator with the ball in his hands in the way that Poole is. Lee has had moments where he picked this team up with his scoring off the bench but Poole is more capable of doing that on a consistent basis than Lee.
Poole will likely be a legitimate 6th Man of the Year candidate if he spends the rest of the season in this role. With Otto Porter Jr. also playing at an extremely high level again, this Warriors team is only getting better as the season goes on.
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