At 29-7, the Warriors have the best record in the NBA, a half-game ahead of the Suns. One key to the team’s success this season has been the maturation and development of third-year guard Jordan Poole, who’s being groomed to become Golden State’s new sixth man, as Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic detail.
Poole’s situation on the club is unique, in that he’s the only young player to have a consistent rotational role. He describes the dynamic as being akin to a middle-child.
“The dynamic is what you see,” Poole said. “I’m not the youngest. I’ve been around for a little bit, but I’m kind of like the only one in the middle of the pack. The older bros have been through it. Sometimes we’re gonna throw you with the young guys, sometimes you can come with us. Essentially, it’s the middle-child treatment.”
Slater and Thompson write that Poole is known for having an excellent work ethic; the Warriors have data showing he’s in the gym more than any player on the team. Veteran Andre Iguodala, the team’s former sixth man, has taken Poole under his wing. As a third-year former first-round pick (28th overall in the 2019 draft), Poole is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.
“The new sixth man is getting $20 million a year,” Iguodala said. “That’s the bottom offer for a guy like that, the Tyler Herros and Jordan Pooles. You got those few guys who are starters but for teams they are on, they’re sixth men. You don’t have a problem with going above and beyond taking care of them because you know they’ll be a staple player for your franchise.”
In 30 games (28 starts) this season, Poole is averaging 18.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists in 30.1 minutes per contest. He also sports a .454/.348/.887 shooting line, good for a 59.3 true shooting percentage.
Here’s more on the Warriors:
- ESPN’s Baxter Holmes wrote an in-depth story detailing how former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins has been a “perfect fit” with Golden State, examining many aspects of the forward and his role within the team.
- Head coach Steve Kerr says Klay Thompson will be on a minutes restriction when he makes his long-awaited return (possibly Sunday) and will probably rest one of the two games in back-to-back sets, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (via Twitter).
- The Warriors have the NBA’s highest payroll, but a huge part of their success thus far is owed to the contributions of lesser-paid players, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes. Hollinger notes that Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II, Kevon Looney, Poole, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee, and Iguodala have all been impactful, and the eight players earn a combined $17.6MM — about the market value of a decent starter. Of the eight, only Poole is under contract through next season — the other seven will be free agents this summer (JTA is restricted, the rest are unrestricted).