This is the second installment in our series examining players who are prime candidates for contract extensions. This series will explore the player’s strengths and weaknesses, and will evaluate what a fair deal between the player and his team might look like. We’re continuing today with a look at a player who was a key contributor to a championship team in 2022.
The 28th overall pick of the 2019 draft after two years at Michigan, Jordan Poole had a larger-than-expected role as a rookie due to major injuries to Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Unfortunately, he struggled mightily in his first pro season, appearing in 57 games (22.4 MPG) while averaging 8.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 2.4 APG on a ghastly .333/.279/.798 shooting line. His .454 true shooting percentage was last in the entire NBA, as was his -6.6 box plus/minus.
Things weren’t much better for Poole during the first few months of his second season in 2020/21, appearing in just 15 of Golden State’s first 36 games and receiving scant playing time (9.6 MPG). Since he wasn’t getting much NBA run, he was sent to the G League in February 2021 to work on his craft.
Poole displayed a newfound confidence and looked like a completely different player upon his return a month later, emerging as a major spark-plug scorer off the bench. Over his final 36 games (23.5 MPG), he averaged 14.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 2.4 APG on .433/.354/.870 shooting (.579 true).
In year three, Poole built upon the foundation he laid during that strong second half surge, appearing in 76 games (30.0 MPG) while averaging 18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.0 APG on .448/.364/.925 shooting. He started 51 of those contests in the backcourt alongside Curry.
Out of all guards who averaged at least 18 points per night, Poole ranked fifth in true shooting percentage at .598 – an excellent mark. His .925 free throw percentage led the NBA.
More importantly, he was also a standout performer in the postseason, averaging 17.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 3.8 APG on .508/.391/.915 shooting (.654 true) in 22 games (five starts, 27.5 MPG) during Golden State’s title run.
Poole is an extremely shifty ball-handler who can create space for himself and teammates with ease. While he has a strong first step, what really separates Poole from other ball-handlers is how quickly he can change direction and how decisive he is – if he gains even a slight advantage, he goes straight to the hole.
Another element of Poole’s ball-handling that’s really impressive is that he has counter moves upon counter moves. He can string together a combination of intricate dribble moves in just a second or two, and even if the defender stops the first couple, he might unleash a crossover that leads them reaching on the third.
The 23-year-old is just as comfortable dribbling with his left hand as his right, and doesn’t really show a preference, which makes it really difficult to try to guess which way he’s going to go.
Poole isn’t the most explosive athlete vertically, but he’s very fast with the ball in his hands and excels in the open court. He’s a talented finisher around the basket, converting 62% of his looks at the rim — an above average mark (55th percentile, per DunksAndThrees.com). Many of those shots are very high-difficulty attempts as well.
Poole is an excellent scorer from all over the court. While he didn’t attempt many mid-rangers, he knocked down 46% of those looks (78th percentile). A big part of why he was so efficient is because the majority of his shots came either at the rim or from deep – he also gets to the line at a decent clip.
He employs side-steps and step-backs to create space for three-pointers, and 3.0 of his 7.6 attempts per game from deep came off the bounce, per NBA.com. He’s slithery coming off screens, and he’s very smart about using the screen a second time to free himself for a better look or a drive.
As with all of his teammates, Poole certainly benefits from all the attention Curry draws, but he’s perfectly capable of scoring in bunches on his own. During the last 12 games of the regular season, when Curry was injured, Poole averaged 25.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 6.2 APG on .421/.374/.954 shooting (.586 true) and didn’t look out of place as a primary option.
Poole is also a solid passer when he’s so inclined, though he definitely has a score-first mentality – his 21% assist percentage was in the 80th percentile, per DunksAndThrees.com.
Poole has been a below average defensive player to this point in his career, and in order for him to take another leap as a player, he needs to get better.
According to NBA.com, opponents shot 1.7% better than their expected field goal percentage with Poole defending them — the second-worst mark on the Warriors — and that’s with the team trying to hide him on weaker offensive players. That figure rose to 4.7% better than expected in the playoffs.
Poole doesn’t really excel at anything on defense. He isn’t strong individually or as a help defender, and he doesn’t force many turnovers (0.8 steal and 0.3 block per night).
Poole was definitely a beneficiary of having several strong defenders around him – the Warriors had the second-best defense during the regular season, and that was their main collective strength in winning the championship.
He’s also a below average rebounder, pulling down just 3.4 per night, and at 6’4” he could stand to bump that number up closer to five, though it’s something he’s never been great at, even in college.
Another area of Poole’s game that needs work is his decision making. His 1.39-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in ‘21/22 was quite poor for a high usage player, especially someone who handles the ball as much as he does.
Lastly, while Poole has very deep range and certainly doesn’t lack in confidence, his 36.4% mark from three was only one percent above league average. If that number rises even a little bit, it would help his already very good efficiency.
Poole’s statistics last season were fairly similar to Tyler Herro’s, and like Herro, I think Poole is almost certain to receive a nine-figure payday on his next contract. Since he was a late first-rounder, he has “only” earned a little over $6MM to this point. The prospect of receiving $100MM+, assuming the Warriors offer it, would undoubtedly be appealing.
When comparing Poole, Herro and the other young guards who set the market value this summer (Anfernee Simons, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett all received $100-107MM in guaranteed money over four years), I personally think Poole might have the highest upside. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get the most money of the group, particularly in a theoretical extension.
The primary reason the Warriors might be hesitant to give Poole a lucrative extension is that they’re already a record-setting taxpayer, and they’d owe significantly more in taxes than the actual value of his salary. It would also lock in an extremely expensive roster for years to come.
There’s an argument to be made that Poole is a luxury, not a necessity, especially with Thompson healthy for a full season – I don’t buy that argument, but it’s not entirely baseless. The front office might have to choose between paying just one or two of Poole, Draymond Green or Andrew Wiggins, and all were very valuable contributors last season who are good at different things, so it would be a tough call.
If Poole bets on himself and declines an offer for, say, $110MM — which would carry a good deal of risk since he doesn’t have a long track record (plus injuries are always a concern) — there’s a chance he could get a max deal as a restricted free agent in 2023, which is projected to be worth $142,975,000 over four years.
32 thoughts on “Extension Candidate: Jordan Poole”
If you know ball, you know the only player not on the Warriors “timelines build” is Andrew Wiggins – they will 100% let him walk, as he isn’t really THAT good, and definitely isn’t as good or as important as Dray/Klay/Poole. Moses Moody might be better than Andrew Wiggins, we gotta see more of him….
Poole has multiple buzzer beaters in the NBA Finals – you not only keep that, you build around it.
How quickly they forget smh… link to m.youtube.com
Oh jeez, you arent one of those hater idiots who thinks Curry isnt 100% responsible for Wiggins being good? Like I said, if you know ball….you just proved you do not.
Look man, I just watched every game Wiggins has played with GSW – he aint ish without Curry’s gravity, his entire time in GSW has been “Curry on court = Wiggins good; Curry off court = Wiggins bad”.
He’s good, he’s not THAT good. Jordan Poole and probably Kuminga and Moody all clear Wiggins, period.
You think that everyone who doesn’t believe that Steph Curry is 100% responsible for Wiggins being a good basketball player is a “hater idiot”? Thats your position?… smh Clearly you love Steph alot & I can understand that. But trust me Andrew Wiggins existed before he got to Steph. He was the #1 pick in the draft for a reason. He got a max contract extension for a reason. The comment that u just replied to showed him carrying GSW to victory in 1 of the biggest games of the season with Steph going 0-9 from trey. That’s how good Wiggins is. He’s good enough to save your season & give you a 3-2 lead in the Finals
“He’s good enough to save your season & give you a 3-2 lead in the Finals”
Oh ok, so you ARE one of those hater idiots LOL! Son, if Wiggins did not exist the Warriors still would have destroyed the Celtics anyway. Please watch more games and talk less for a while. You are muted as of now, just the biggest time waster – your takes are bad and you need to not clutter up my feed.
Lol u don’t have an answer? Wiggins is taller, longer, more durable, more athletic, better defensively, is cheaper, better rebounder, younger, can play more positions (specifically the 4) & is frankly hungrier than Klay at this point. Why, other than emotional attachment, would GSW keep Klay instead of Wiggins?
Because Klay Thompson is the second best shooter in the history of the sport, and that’s dramatically more valuable than anything Wiggins can do. Everything you just mentioned about Wiggins, Kuminga can do, and is younger, cheaper, and hungrier than Wiggins.
The Warriors will let Wiggins walk, extend Poole, and might let Draymond walk, if he doesn’t accept a lower salary. Poole is the only one of those three they absolutely need to keep.
Poole is obviously the weakest of the 3, and you think the Warriors absolutely need to keep him? Why?
Wiggins was best player. If you take in the whole playoffs. He led them in rebounding and was playing D. He had big gms.
That’s what Balling is all about ……
I don’t think Warriors’ owners have an issue paying. It’s more about that terrible luxury tax. Dead and taxes oh boy…
I understand Dray, Wiggins & Poole all have expiring contracts but the guy I’d see as the odd man out is Klay. I think he’s still an all-star level guard & even if he’ll never be quite as great as he was before the injury he’s def very capable of helping GSW win titles in yhe next few yrs. But we’ve seen how dominant Steph & Poole can be together as starters. Moses Moody will never be Klay but with another yr of seasoning he’ll be ready to be a key player as a big 2guard as well. OKC, Detroit, Orl, Ind & more will have plenty of cap space & plenty of need for a future HOF, elite shooting wing like Klay. Especially if Middleton returns to Mil like he prob will. Depending on how well Klay plays this yr they may even be able to get a 1st rd pick or maybe even more, while also clearing his huge salary off the books. Poole is definitely a keeper. Wiggins could possibly be replaced by Kuminga but ik I’d feel alot better about replacing Klay with Poole than replacing Wiggins with Kuminga. Good luck finding anyone that can replace Draymond.
The shrewd move would be to trade Wiggins by the deadline for a 1st and two players, one of which is on an expiring deal.
He’s only going to be 28 entering UFA, but the prospect of re-maxing him with their current contracts isn’t a great notion.
I would re-up Poole, he would transition them past Klay, who you let walk or he takes a pay cut at age 33/34.
Draymond wants some stupid money again, honestly his current contract is an overpay, but most guys are overpaid anyway. Paying him 20+ at age 35 and beyond wouldn’t be smart. I mean 2/30 should be more than fair value if he’s still positive on BPM, WS, and VORP.
You have to rely on Poole, Kuminga, Wiseman, and Moody to step up and replace these guys to some degree. And hope Steph plays long like LBJ.
Not to mention GSW lowkey wants Steph/Klay/Dray to win more chips than Lebron, then go sign Lebron when he leaves the Lakers (as he always leaves teams), so we can get the Steph/Bron duo.
By the time LeBron leaves the Lakers, he’ll be 952. Curry will be kicking back and enjoying his Grandchildren. You are so hysterical.
All this talk of trading Wiggins when he just got done being the 2nd best player on a championship team, one would have to have an awful lot of faith in Kuminga or Moody.
We’ll you’re not trading him for a heap of garbage lol. You’re trading his bird rights so that a team can give him a 5 yr deal essentially.
Like if the Knicks were to trade for Wiggins and facilitate pieces back to the Warriors. Some contender, that wants Wiggins long term and has the pieces to make a move.
Great article; very thorough
Draymond knows he wont get max. He just wants max yrs and no pay cut. As for Poole, he will surely accept $110m. Right now, Warrios are only offering $80-90m. After Brunson, Simon, Barrett, Warriors have no choice but to increase their offer.
Wow. The Warriors haven’t made a contract offer, but you know what it is.
I don’t understand it. How did all you guys get passed over NBA GM jobs? You are all obviously smarter than any GM, Coach, or Scout that is currently employed in the NBA. I know this because you guys all say you are and get multiple thumbs ups.
not only that SFG…..A’s fan knows what they’re actually THINKING! there are some impressive people here!
So you’re crying because your trolling doesn’t get more thumbs up? Be more interesting, or creative, or funny. You’re none of those things. Just a whiny troll.
Really. You think I am trolling for more thumbs up? You are to funny.
bro spelled too wrong
face it is coming down to who wants to stay more. All 3 Green, Poole, and Wiggins will be up for contracts. 1 most likely is gone. Can they sign all 3? NO Poole needs to improve if he does he will get a contract. Green comes down to how much he wants. Wiggins comes down to if he will sign for less than a max deal.
It is funny how all these guys ignore that Poole needs to improve in some areas.
Dre s best days are behind him. Small 4s don’t age well in NBA.
What people forget is the Warriors are deep into the luxury tax and play in California where Poole would be asked to take a team friendly deal and his accountant having to dish out 13.3% income tax versus the report of the Magic offering the 4 year max in the state of Florida (ZERO state income tax). Poole maybe satisfied with one ring and seek the largest contract and try to make a name for himself elsewhere.
@louarcieri The luxury tax has nothing to do state income tax. Why bring that up? Income taxes don’t effect where players decide to play. That’s nonsense.
Poole is a system guy. He won’t last on another team. Another THT who Warriors are pumping up. I would rather start Wiggins at SG with Kuminga at SF. Then Klay can backup either spot. That’s how you protect him and manage his mins.
Or please just Trade Wiggins to Knicks.
Another close analysis of the contract he signed