Jordan Poole

Warriors Notes: Bjelica, Porter, Poole, Rookies, Iguodala, Kerr

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr believes that adding veteran forwards Nemanja Bjelica and Otto Porter in free agency should help make Golden State a better three-point shooting team in 2021/22, as he tells Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

Kerr called the signing of Bjelica “really exciting,” pointing out that the Warriors haven’t really had a floor-spacing, pick-and-pop big man since Marreese Speights, who generally shot from the mid-range rather than from beyond the arc.

“I look at Bjelica as the three-point-shooting version of Mo, in many ways,” Kerr said. “Because all of a sudden, you’re looking at a spaced floor when you consider Klay (Thompson)‘s return and Steph (Curry)‘s play last year. The ability to play Bjelica with Draymond (Green), which basically turns Draymond into the five and the pick-and-roll guy with Bjelica spaced. Really exciting.”

Kerr also praised Porter, referring to him as a player who can guard multiple positions on defense and who isn’t just “going to stand in the corner” on offense.

“The whole thing with Otto is health now,” Kerr told Kawakami. “He feels like he’s healthy and we’re going to give him every opportunity to get himself in shape and in rhythm. If he can return to form, then he’s a really, really interesting player for us. Somebody who could play an important role.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Asked by Kawakami about lineup and rotation decisions to start the season, Kerr predicted that Jordan Poole will be the Warriors’ starting shooting guard until Thompson is ready to play, and said it’s “impossible to say” yet whether either Jonathan Kuminga or Moses Moody will play regular minutes.
  • Kerr recognizes that trading Andre Iguodala in 2019 was necessary in order to get below the hard cap, but is thrilled to have the veteran forward back in Golden State, as Kawakami relays. “I think when we lost him, we lost a piece of our soul,” Kerr said of Iguodala. “… Andre’s return, I think, is huge in a lot of different ways. First, he’s still got plenty to offer, as he showed in Miami the last two seasons. So his addition on the court will be huge for us. And second, he just embodies everything we’re about — versatility, sacrifice, the clear defining of roles, the mentoring that he brings for the younger guys. You throw all that into the equation and Andre is just an enormous addition for us.”
  • Kerr, who won a gold medal in Tokyo as an assistant coach for Team USA, was asked by Kawakami if he’d be interested in becoming the club’s head coach in 2024, assuming Gregg Popovich doesn’t return. His reply: “Of course I’d be interested. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I’ll leave it at that. I have no idea how it will all transpire; there are a lot of great candidates out there. And if I were to be considered, that would be an honor.”
  • The Warriors issued a press release today officially announcing a series of previously-reported additions to Kerr’s coaching staff, including Kenny Atkinson, Dejan Milojevic, and Jama Mahlalela.

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Simon, Poole, Jackson, Leonard

The Lakers‘ addition of Russell Westbrook should ease the burden on LeBron James as a playmaker and scorer. The newest Laker sees that as his main role with the team, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

“Bron is one of the best players to play this game, and his ability to be able to kind of do everything on the floor allows me to be able to just figure it out,” Westbrook said. “I’m coming to a championship-caliber team and my job is to make sure that I’m able to make his game easier for him, and I’ll find ways to do that throughout the game.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are negotiating with Miles Simon to become the head coach of their G League team, the South Bay Lakers, ESPN’s Zach Lowe tweets. Simon would also retain a role on Frank Vogel‘s staff, Lowe adds.
  • The Warriors didn’t make a splashy move for a veteran guard and they’re looking at Jordan Poole to play a prominent role, particularly until Klay Thompson is ready to return to the starting lineup. according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “Being able to bring someone back of that type of caliber, it’s going to separate us,” Poole said of Thompson. “We don’t want to rush him back. Whenever he’s healthy and able to benefit, we will jump to another level as a team.” Poole, who averaged 12 PPG last season, is entering his third season.
  • Reggie Jackson‘s new contract with the Clippers includes a 15% trade kicker, Lowe reports in another tweet. Jackson received a two-year, $22MM deal to remain in Los Angeles.
  • Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss most or all of next season as he recovers from knee surgery. However, the Clippers won’t be able to apply for a $9.5MM disabled player exception for Leonard because he entered free agency and re-signed since suffering the injury, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Curry, Poole, Green

The Warriors‘ season ended with a pair of disappointing losses in the play-in tournament, but the team believes it can become a title contender again. Part of the optimism involves the expected return of Klay Thompson, who has missed the past two seasons with a torn right Achilles tendon and a torn ACL in his left knee.

Thompson was an important part of the Golden State teams that reached five straight NBA Finals and won three rings. He absence was noticeable this year as the Warriors couldn’t find a reliable second scorer to pair with Stephen Curry.

“He’s going to do everything in his power to get back to 100 percent, knowing what he’s been through the last two years,” Curry told Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. “There’s going to be a lot of support around to help him get there, but whatever version of him comes back is definitely a boost. We’ll patiently wait for what that looks like.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Jordan Poole spent part of the season in the G League, but he made a strong impression on coach Steve Kerr once he returned, McCauley adds in the same story. Kerr envisions the second-year guard in a sixth-man role when Thompson is available. “A season ago, he was lost. He was lost in the woods like most rookies are, and it’s just confirmation that hard work and perseverance pays off,” Kerr said. “Jordan was in the gym more than any other player during the pandemic, and he’s earned this. So thrilled for him. I think he’s got a really bright future, and obviously will play a big role for us going forward.”
  • The Warriors are likely to explore any trade possibilities that don’t involve Curry, Thompson or Draymond Green, according to Mark Medina of USA Today. Medina expects Kelly Oubre to leave in free agency, while inconsistent play from Eric Paschall and Kent Bazemore could decide their fates. “I expect to be extremely involved. It’s just the way it’s got to be,” Green said about personnel decisions.
  • Curry hasn’t made a decision on whether he will try to be part of this year’s Olympic team, writes Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. Curry has never played in the Olympics, but he does have two gold medals at the FIBA World Cup.

Warriors Notes: Toscano-Anderson, Wiseman, Poole, Green

Juan Toscano-Anderson has signed a standard contract that includes a fully guaranteed minimum salary for next season and he’s extremely grateful, as he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic and other media members (Twitter link). The 6’6” Warriors swingman calls it a “life-changing contract, a life-changing signature” and vows to work even harder. “I get kind of paranoid in situations like this,” he said. “I am happy but the real work starts now. I don’t feel pressure but there’s more I need to do, I need to raise the bar.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • James Wiseman had a spotty rookie season cut short by injury but coach Steve Kerr promises that the No. 2 pick of the draft won’t disappoint in the long run, Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “I have no doubt James is going to make a huge impact in this league,” Kerr said. “He’s gonna be a hell of a player, but it takes time and you can’t rush that process, unfortunately. It just has to happen on its own time, so he’ll get there, but we’ll just have to keep working with him. The good thing is he’s a great student, and he’s a hard worker and got a great approach. “
  • Jordan Poole has continued to be a key player during the second half of the season, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The former University of Michigan guard is averaging 13.6 PPG and 2.4 APG since the All-Star break. Poole is under contract for next season and the team holds a $3.9MM option for the 2022/23 campaign.
  • Draymond Green asserts his defensive impact goes far beyond stats, as he described to Sam Amick of The Athletic in a wide-ranging interview. “One thing I am certain of is that I can (mess) up an entire team’s offense,” he said. “And so, when you look at the impact that I have on the defensive side of the ball, it’s not always going to show up in blocked shots. It’s not always going to show up in steals. But I guarantee you it shows up in your favorite-player-who-I-may-be-playing-against’s mind.”

Pacific Notes: Davis, Ibaka, Bagley, Poole

In his return after a two-month absence, Anthony Davis‘ numbers were not overly impressive, as he scored just four points in 17 minutes. However, the Lakers’ superstar said he wasn’t giving any thought to the calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg that sidelined him for 30 games.

“I didn’t think about it one time tonight,” Davis said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Honestly, I just went out there and played. I think it can limit what you do if you’re out there thinking about your injury, so I just went out and played and not think about it. Just go out there and have fun and be excited to be back on the floor. That was my main thing. I was just excited to be back on the floor with the guys, so I never thought about it. I never did a limit to any moves. Wasn’t hesitant with anything, so that was a good sign for me.”

Injuries have limited Davis to 24 games this season, and he’s averaging just 21.8 PPG and 8.2 RPG when he has played, his lowest marks in several years. However, as he rounds back into form and LeBron James moves toward a return, the Lakers are poised to have some serious firepower back on the court as they seek to defend their NBA championship.

More Pacific Division notes here:

  • The Clippers says that center Serge Ibaka is making progress in his return from lower back tightness that has sidelined him since mid-March, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. “He’s progressing,” head coach Ty Lue said. “We’re not sure the timetable when he’ll be back, but that was his first time getting on the floor and actually doing some playing so that’s a good start.”
  • In the midst of an up-and-down season for the Warriors, Jordan Poole has emerged as a bright spot in the team’s future, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Poole has shown an innate ability to score, prompting head coach Steve Kerr to laud his 21-year-old. “We can’t have our decision to play him based on whether he’s making shots or not,” Kerr said. “That’s not a recipe for consistent performance. He has to take that next step and he’s showing signs. Which is great.”
  • With Marvin Bagley III seemingly close to returning, NBC Sports’ James Ham analyzes what the big man’s role with the Kings might be once he’s back on the court.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Curry, Poole, Kerr

James Wiseman could be a difference-maker as the Warriors try to reach the playoffs, but head coach Steve Kerr won’t “force the issue” when it comes to playing time for the rookie center, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

Wiseman, the second pick in last year’s draft, is averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but he hasn’t provided the consistent production that Golden State was hoping for. He saw just 18 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the Hawks, and Kerr indicated his playing time moving forward will depend on his performance.

“I think development also includes observation from the sidelines, earning time, earning minutes,” Kerr said. “If there are mistakes made in the previous game, let’s work on those mistakes. And if we correct those then we get more playing time; if we don’t correct them then we get less playing time. So it can’t just be throw him out there and let him go for 30 minutes because frankly he’s not ready for that.”

Kerr expressed confidence that Wiseman will eventually reach his potential, but said he needs to take part in summer league and training camp before that can happen. Last year’s summer league was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, and Wiseman missed most of training camp because he was in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry admitted the team had much higher expectations than battling to reach a play-in game, Friedell adds in a separate story. Curry’s return after missing most of last season with an injury was supposed to make the Warriors a contender again, but they’re clinging to 10th place after losing seven of their last eight games. “I hope it stings. I hope it’s uncomfortable,” Curry said after the latest loss. “I hope it motivates you to keep grinding, challenging yourself to get better. I hope nobody is content just being in this middle-of-the-road situation.”
  • Jordan Poole quickly won Draymond Green‘s respect by standing up to him in practice last year, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. The second-year guard has raised his numbers across the board this season and appears to be part of the Warriors’ core for the future.
  • This season is Kerr’s biggest challenge since becoming a head coach, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Kerr inherited a team that was loaded with talent when he took the job in 2014 and has never had to focus on player development while trying to reach the playoffs.

NBA G League Announces 2020/21 All-NBAGL Teams

After being named the G League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year on Monday, Delaware Blue Coats forward Paul Reed – who is on a two-way contract with the Sixers – headlines the All-NBA G League First Team, as the league announced today in a press release.

Reed was joined on the All-NBAGL first team by MVP runner-up Kevin Porter Jr. of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, as well as Oklahoma City Blue big man Moses Brown, Lakeland Magic forward Mamadi Diakite, and Westchester Knicks guard Jared Harper. All of those players are currently on either standard NBA contracts or two-way deals.

That’s a common theme for this year’s All-NBAGL teams. The majority of the 15 players named to the three squads are either currently under contract with NBA teams or have past NBA experience.

The complete list of the 2020/21 All-NBA G League teams, along with the All-Rookie and All-Defensive squads, is below. Players currently on NBA contracts are noted with an asterisk (*), while those on two-way contracts are noted with a caret (^).

All-NBAGL First Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Jared Harper (Westchester Knicks) ^

All-NBAGL Second Team:

All-NBAGL Third Team:

NBAGL All-Rookie Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Malachi Flynn (Raptors 905) *
  • Brodric Thomas (Canton Charge) ^
  • KJ Martin (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) *

NBAGL All-Defensive Team:

  • Paul Reed (Delaware Blue Coats) ^
  • Moses Brown (Oklahoma City Blue) ^
  • Mamadi Diakite (Lakeland Magic) ^
  • Tahjere McCall (Lakeland Magic)
  • Gary Payton II (Raptors 905)

Of the 18 players who earned a spot on one of the G League’s All-NBAGL, All-Rookie, or All-Defensive teams this year, only four – Brissett, Uthoff, McCall, and Payton – haven’t been on some form of standard, two-way, or 10-day NBA contract since the ’20/21 season began. All four of them have previous NBA experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Ball, Oladipo, Poole, Mavericks

The Pelicans‘ decision on whether to trade Lonzo Ball before the deadline will largely impact their chemistry for the rest of the season, Scott Kushner of examines.

New Orleans has accrued just an 18-24 record this season, struggling to give a consistent effort on the defensive end. The team is only 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the No. 10 seed, which is needed to make the play-in tournament under the league’s new format.

“We’re not where we want to be,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Certainly on some nights, we look like we’re better than that. On other nights, we don’t. Everybody plays good games, though. When you’re good, it’s when you can do it consistently, night after night after night.

“It’s not what you do on your best night. We have 30 teams who will look great for a game. It’s who can do it night after night. And who can do it when it doesn’t have to be their best game and when they’re not lighting it up shooting the ball and can still find a way to win?”

There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:

California Notes: Poole, Kostas, Smailagić, Walton

As the Warriors strive to make a return to the playoffs, they owe it to themselves to give young reserve guard Jordan Poole more minutes, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area opines. Poole can provide some ball-handling for the second unit, a skill that is not a strength for his fellow backup guard Brad Wanamaker. With a 19-18 record, the Warriors are currently the No. 10 seed in the crowded Western Conference, which would qualify them for the play-in portion of the 2021 playoffs.

After Jordan Poole outperformed expectations playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League Orlando “bubble,” Monte Poole believes the time has come for him to get extended run spotting Stephen Curry in the second and fourth quarters during the All-Star point guard’s allocated rest breaks. Poole averaged 22.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 3.5 APG across 11 games (all starts) with Santa Cruz.

There’s more out of California:

  • Lakers reserve forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, who signed his second two-way contract with Los Angeles during the offseason, has entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Center Marc Gasol remains away from the team in coronavirus protocols as well.
  • Warriors forward Alen Smailagić has been recalled from Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team announced in a press release. Smailagić averaged 7.5 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 10 games for Santa Cruz.
  • While Kings head coach Luke Walton‘s job remains safe entering the second half of the 2020/21 season, Sacramento’s roster may undergo some changes with the March 25 deadline fast approaching, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Poole, Kennard, Ramsey

As a hard-capped team lacking in tradeable pieces, the Lakers will find it difficult to make a significant deal before this month’s deadline, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Their best bargaining chip heading into the season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, hasn’t lived up to his $12MM contract. Goon suggests the best the team could hope for is to sign Andre Drummond if the Cavaliers choose to buy out the exiled center.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors guard Jordan Poole made a strong impression after being recalled from the G League and he could eventually supplant Brad Wanamaker as the backup point, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Poole had 26 points in 26 minutes in a loss to Phoenix on Thursday. The 2019 first-round pick averaged 22.4 PPG in 11 G League contests with Santa Cruz.
  • Luke Kennard‘s last outing was a promising development for the Clippers, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times notes. Kennard contributed 14 points and four assists in 21 minutes against Washington. After acquiring Kennard in a multi-team trade during the offseason, the Clippers signed Kennard to a four-year, $64MM extension in December.
  • The Kings recalled rookie guard Jahmi’us Ramsey from the G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers, according to a team press release. Ramsey appeared in 12 games at the Orlando bubble and averaged 9.8 PPG in 21.0 MPG. The second-round pick has seen action in four games with Sacramento this season.