Jordan Poole

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Allen, Myers, Curry, Leonard

It won’t be easy for the Lakers to reach the top six in the West, but they haven’t been looking like a play-in team, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. L.A. blew out Cleveland this afternoon to move into eighth place, which is the team’s highest spot since late December. With nine wins in their last 10 games, Anthony Davis believes the Lakers are ready for whatever challenges they face in the postseason.

“We’re very confident in our ballclub,” he said after posting 22 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and three steals. “We laugh about, like, ‘Oh, winning nine out of 10,’ and we haven’t went anywhere [in the standings]. So, it’s how good the West is. But we’re confident, very confident in our ballclub and any time we step on the floor.”

At 45-33, L.A. is a half-game behind New Orleans and a half-game ahead of Sacramento in a tight race for seedings. The Lakers trail Phoenix by a game-and-a-half for the coveted sixth spot, but they’re two games back in the loss column and will need some help to catch the Suns.

“I think the biggest difference is just that we’re just having fun,” Davis added. “We’re holding each other accountable. If somebody messes up we’re yelling, screaming at him. But nobody is taking it personal. Because we all know what we’re here for, to try to win. So we’re having fun, we’re having a great time out there playing basketball, and we’re staying together.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns coach Frank Vogel indicated that he might consider replacing Grayson Allen with Royce O’Neale in the starting lineup depending on the postseason matchup, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “Grayson has been our starter, I expect it to stay that way,” Vogel said, “but you get into or near the playoffs, everything is on the table.” 
  • Appearing on JJ Redick’s podcast, former Warriors general manager Bob Myers said the team was never able to determine who provided the media with video of Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole at practice (video link from ClutchPoints). Myers said the organization conducted an investigation and even brought in a third party in an effort to find the culprit.
  • The Warriors will rest Stephen Curry for Sunday’s game with Utah, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga are both listed as questionable.
  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss his fourth straight game Sunday against Cleveland for treatment and recovery on his right knee, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Southeast Notes: Poole, Banchero, Harris, Bridges

Wizards guard Jordan Poole has been a frequent target of criticism on social media for errors he makes, sometimes edited to make him look worse and sometimes not, but he understands that the platforms amplify outrage, and he doesn’t pay attention to it, writes Yaron Weitzman of Fox Sports.

I get what it’s for, but you can be overwhelmed with that stuff,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it, right? Just live with it. That’s our generation’s challenge.”

That doesn’t mean Poole is ignorant of what some people think about him. It has been a rough adjustment in his first season with Washington, which hasn’t gone as he or anyone else had hoped on the court. Yet Poole’s confidence remains unshaken, Weitzman notes.

Everything that I’ve done [in my career] has essentially worked,” Poole said of the outside criticism. “So there’s no need to change anything. Just find ways to get a little bit better, wherever I can.”

Martenzie Johnson of Andscape recently published an interesting profile of Poole as well, writing that the 24-year-old’s brash, flashy game stands in stark contrast to what he’s like off the court — an introspective, process-oriented person who’s a diligent worker and very private. Based on how he plays, you’d think Poole enjoys attention, but the opposite is true, according to Johnson.

Poole has been playing better since becoming the primary play-maker off the bench, both authors note, averaging 19.8 PPG, 4.2 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.1 SPG on .434/.374/.884 shooting over his past 16 games (29.0 MPG), though he’s recently been starting at point guard in place of the injured Tyus Jones, who will miss his fifth straight game on Saturday with a back injury. Poole is questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Toronto with a right hip contusion, the team announced (via Twitter).

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Magic forward Paolo Banchero had his second career triple-double in Thursday’s victory over New Orleans, and head coach Jamahl Mosley praised the former No. 1 overall pick after the performance, per Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter video link). “He reads what the defense is doing, he adjusts as the game is going on and then he finds his time to pick, time to attack,” Mosley said as part of larger quote. “That’s growth of a young man but it’s also what an All-Star does, it’s what great players do.”
  • Magic guard Gary Harris exited Thursday’s contest with right foot soreness and did not return, per the team (Twitter link). Harris had been questionable for Saturday’s game against Sacramento with a right plantar fascia strain, Beede tweets, but he was ruled out this afternoon, the Magic announced (via Twitter). Harris, who is on expiring $13MM contract, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 29-year-old veteran has been limited to 94 games over the past two seasons due to various injuries.
  • Forward Miles Bridges missed all of last season after pleading no contest to a felony domestic violence charge. He remains close with his college head coach, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, who believes Bridges has found a good home with the Hornets, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “I think it would be good for him,” Izzo said of Bridges potentially re-signing with the Hornets. “That’s what he is — he’s a pretty loyal guy and I don’t think he’s just chasing the money. He’s had a chance to leave already probably, you know? And I talk to him about it. It’s almost refreshing. He’s kind of an old school throwback, young school guy. And if he just gets everything else straightened out, which he will, I think it’s going to be special.” Bridges will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason after signing a one-year qualifying offer in 2023.

And-Ones: Jones, All-NBA, Bad Contracts, Replays, Stackhouse

Big Sky Player of the Year Dillon Jones is declaring for the 2024 NBA draft and is expected to sign with the Roc Nation agency, according to basketball analyst Jeff Goodman (Twitter link).

The 6’6” Jones averaged 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists for Weber State. He’s a potential first-round pick — Jones is currently listed as No. 32 overall and No. 9 among small forwards on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • With the new CBA stipulating that players must appear in 65 games to be eligible for postseason awards, there could be numerous newcomers to the All-NBA teams. HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina lists several players who could be first-time All-NBA honorees, including Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards and Zion Williamson.
  • Bradley Beal tops Keith Smith’s list at Spotrac of the worst value contracts in the league, opining the Suns wing isn’t worth an average annual value of over $50MM per season, considering his production level and injury issues. Jordan Poole and Zach LaVine also rank high on Smith’s top 10 list.
  • Following a contest against the Lakers in which the last two minutes took 20 minutes in real time due to clock malfunctions and replay reviews, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said replays are destroying the rhythm of the game. “I’m not a fan of replay. I think we should have replay just for the buzzer beaters,” he said, per Sportskeeda. “The whole goal with replay is to try to get everything right. There’s 100 plays at each end every night that are subjective. It’s not a game. It’s not tennis. It’s not a Hawk-Eye on whether it’s in or out. There’s all kinds of subjective stuff. We’re never going to get everything right. But I think the flow of the game is way more important.”
  • Being a former NBA star isn’t enough to attract top recruits and transfers when it comes to Division I coaching. In recent weeks, Michigan fired Juwan Howard and Vanderbilt parted ways with Jerry Stackhouse. NIL and the transfer portal have completed altered the college landscape, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe notes. “Used to be where you could go, you make all the calls, you go show kids as much interest as you can, do all those type things,” Stackhouse said. “Now you’ve got to reach out to their agents. You know what I’m saying? That’s where it is in order to really get in the door.”

Wizards Notes: Poole, Jones, Losing Streak, Omoruyi, Coulibaly

Jordan Poole‘s recent move to a sixth-man role may not be in the Wizards‘ best long-term interests, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. Aldridge admits that the inefficiencies in Poole’s game have been glaring since Golden State traded him last summer to a Washington team where he’s expected to be the best player. Poole is the Wizards’ most explosive scorer and has an ability to create his own shot when the offense bogs down, but he’s shooting just 40.1% from the field and 31% from three-point range this season while turning the ball over 2.2 times per game.

Point guard Tyus Jones is extremely efficient with the ball, but Aldridge notes that pairing him with Poole wasn’t working because they’re too small to play together and neither is a good defender. With Poole in the first season of a four-year, $123MM extension, Aldridge doesn’t expect the Wizards to be able to trade him any time soon. Jones is headed toward free agency this summer, which is why Aldridge believes the organization should commit to Poole as its starting point guard despite the flaws in his game.

Explaining the move, interim coach Brian Keefe said he’s a “huge believer” in Poole and expects him to have more offensive freedom coming off the bench.

“I want Jordan to be himself. And that was my message when I first took over,” Keefe said. “I want him to play in attack mode. And I think this is more of an opportunity for him to do that, because of the amount of time he puts into it. And what he can mean for our team when he does that.”

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Players are doing their best to stay positive amid a losing streak that reached 14 games Friday night, per Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. They’re two losses away from the franchise record, but the locker room emphasis is on continued growth. “Right now, we understand a lot of things we’re doing … halfway through the year. Changing coaches, we’re also changing a lot of philosophies, we’re also changing to do a lot of things that these young guys, they haven’t necessarily been taught,” Kyle Kuzma said. “We have a learning curve right now. We understand that. It’s always tough to lose, especially when you’re a competitor, and everybody in this locker room is a competitor. But we understand that we’re searching and we’re fighting for growth every single day.”
  • Interim coach Brian Keefe said Eugene Omoruyi‘s effort level helped him earn a standard contract after he was a two-way player for most of the season, Wallace adds. “This is someone who has worked his tail off behind the scenes, and then you guys get to see it occasionally when he plays,” Keefe said. “Every time we put him out there, we’ve done well. I think it’s also a credit to our development program and the use of the Go-Go in the G League and their staff. But mostly, Gene deserves it. He’s a guy that represents stuff that we’re about as a culture and want to build. Thrilled for him.”
  • In an interview with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, rookie forward Bilal Coulibaly talks about the challenges of his first NBA season.

Wizards Move Jordan Poole To Bench

After starting each of his first 52 contests with the Wizards, guard Jordan Poole was moved to the second unit in the team’s first game after the All-Star break on Thursday, writes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Rookie forward Bilal Coulibaly took Poole’s place in the starting lineup.

Interim head coach Brian Keefe stressed that the move wasn’t made because the Wizards have lost faith in Poole but because they want to make the most of his skill set and get the ball in his hands more often, according to Wallace, who notes that the team is down a point guard following Delon Wright‘s recent buyout.

“It’s all about helping our group improve as a whole,” Keefe said prior to Thursday’s game vs. Denver. “One of the things we’ve liked about Jordan since I’ve taken over is that I’ve definitely given him the ball more and have allowed him to be an elite decision-maker. With some of the roster opening up, now there’s an opportunity for him to do that more and make our team more complete and be able to play a better, full 48 minutes.

“… It’s really a positive. It’s actually a credit to Jordan. Jordan’s been one of our highest net ratings since I’ve taken over, and I just want to see more of that. This gives him an opportunity now, being in that unit, to be the lead handler, lead decision-maker and kind of be our offensive engine.”

After signing a four-year, $123MM extension with the Warriors in 2022, Poole was traded from Golden State to Washington during the 2023 offseason, just as that lucrative long-term contract was beginning. His transition to his new NBA home has been a bumpy one — his scoring average has dipped to 15.7 points per game and his shooting percentages (.396 FG%, .304 3PT%) are his lowest since he was a rookie in 2019/20.

The 24-year-old also hasn’t been particularly effective on defense, and while Keefe is right that Poole’s net rating relative to Washington’s overall mark has been solid in recent weeks, that wasn’t the case during the first half of the season. Under previous coach Wes Unseld Jr., the Wizards had a -14.1 net rating during Poole’s minutes, compared to a -2.3 rating when he wasn’t on the court.

Poole was just 4-of-17 from the field in Thursday’s loss to the Nuggets, but he did end up scoring 18 points and logging 30 minutes, both above his season averages. While he suggested he wasn’t thrilled about the move to the bench, Poole said he’ll look to make the most of it.

“If there’s any common sense, with the situation, you should know how I feel. But I’m just going to come out, do what I can do to help the team, keep it moving,” he said. “I’ve been a point guard the last three years of my career. I haven’t really played in my position all year, just kind of trying to figure that out. I mean, if this is a way to try to get me on ball, I guess that’s just what we have to do.

“But I feel like I’ve mentioned it, I’ve been a (point guard), I’ve been primary on-ball, I’ve been a facilitator, play-maker, as well as scoring. I feel like that’s kind of where I proved my game and how I play, played to my strengths, and it hasn’t been like that this year unfortunately. I’m just trying to get better in the other areas of the game.”

It remains to be seen whether Poole will come off the bench for the rest of the season. As Wallace relays, Keefe told reporters on Thursday that the new lineup is one “we’re going to look at for a little while.”

Wizards Notes: Poole, Kispert, Shamet, Kuzma

It’s been difficult for Wizards guard Jordan Poole to adjust to Washington on the court, as he’s averaging 17.5 points on 40.8% shooting from the floor while taking 15.1 field-goal attempts per game. However, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes, he’s been an excellent fit off the court for his new team.

He’s always got a smile on his face,” teammate Corey Kispert said. “He can talk to anybody. Off the court, he’s just a ray of light. He always brings good energy, and it’s good to see Jordan every single day when I walk into the building. I know I can count on him to pick me up if I’m not feeling great.

While Poole has been rough on defense and inconsistent on offense, he’s approaching this season with a positive outlook, Robbins writes.

This is the most that they’ve been on me other than the playoffs or the finals,” Poole said. “I think it’s awesome, honestly, just to feel that over the course of the game how teams are over and over and over night-in, night-out coming out with physicality because that’s what’s in their game plan. That’s what coaches think would be a good way to slow me down. So, I’m embracing it, learning from it, growing from it.

It’s evident that despite their 5-23 record as of Saturday, Poole and his teammates have established solid chemistry.

Porzingis was the same way — kind of a pleasant surprise in the same way,” Kispert said. “We all heard a lot of rumors of him coming from Dallas and the things that happened there. And then when he showed up in our locker room, he immediately took me by surprise, and he treated everyone great. Anybody off the team or in my circle of friends back home who were asking me about him — I could only say positive things about him. And Jordan’s been the same way: [He’s] been an absolute pleasure to be a teammate of and to get to know.

In another story about Poole’s acclimation, The Washington Post’s Ava Wallace writes about the guard’s specific adjustments to his game and the switch from Golden State to Washington. Wallace points out that Poole is no stranger to this, as it took him two years to find his groove with the Warriors.

You’ve got to just keep going, every day. The plan is the plan,” Poole said. “Someone just told me that the other day, and I kind of like it. Everything will pan itself out, you know? You’ve just got to keep doing what you’re doing as long as you’re doing it with the right intent, which I believe in 100 percent. It’s just a matter of time.

We have more from the Wizards:

  • While Kispert’s efficiency on three-pointers is down so far this season — to 37.4% from 42.4% in 2022/23 on roughly the same attempts per game — Wallace writes that he has shown improvements in other areas of his game. Kispert has improved as a play-maker and off-ball mover, Wallace observes, and he’s taking smarter shots. “The growth doesn’t change no matter what my output says in the box score,” Kispert said. “I still feel it. I still know it. Obviously, I can’t let it discourage me. But some things are just out of my control as a player, and that’s just kind of the way things go.
  • Guard Landry Shamet missed eight games in a row for the Wizards but made his return Friday against the Warriors (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network). Shamet played just 13 minutes in his return and didn’t score.
  • Forward Kyle Kuzma exited Washington’s Friday game against the Warriors with right knee soreness and did not return (Twitter link via the team). However, Andscape’s Marc J. Spears tweets that Kuzma told him that he expects to be ready for the Wizards’ next game (vs. the Magic on Tuesday).

Fischer’s Latest: Capela, Hunter, Quickley, Wizards, Rockets

There was minimal trade chatter at the NBA’s annual G League Showcase this week, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Still, the Hawks are among the teams worth keeping an eye on, according to Fischer, who says Atlanta still seems to be open to dealing Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter.

A veteran Swiss big man, Capela is averaging a double-double (11.8 PPG and 10.7 RPG in 26 games) for the seventh straight season. He’s making $20.6MM this season and will earn $22.3MM in 2024/25. Fifth-year forward Hunter, meanwhile, will make $90MM over the next four years after inking a rookie scale extension prior to 2022/23.

The news isn’t surprising, since both players were involved in rumors over the summer and the Hawks have had a pretty disappointing start to the 2023/24 campaign. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto has heard similarly.

While Scotto recently reported that the Knicks would consider trading Immanuel Quickley if the right deal presents itself, Fischer hears the fourth-year guard’s name “has been virtually absent” from early trade talks. Perhaps that will change in the next several weeks leading up to the deadline, but it seems to indicate New York isn’t actively shopping Quickley.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest rumor round-up:

  • The 5-22 Wizards look like prime candidates to be sellers at the deadline in the first year of their rebuild, according to Fischer. Daniel Gafford, Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones are among the players who could net positive returns. Rival teams value Kuzma’s contract (four years, $90MM), and the Wizards could get “legitimate first-round capital” if they move the veteran forward, Fischer writes. Opposing executives also think Washington might be able to land a first-round pick for Jones, who is making $14MM in the final year of his deal.
  • The Wizards will likely receive calls on former lottery picks Corey Kispert and Deni Avdija as well, Fischer adds, but it’s unclear if Washington is interested in dealing them. Avdijia, in particular, would be difficult to trade due to the poison pill provision. According to Fischer, rivals are skeptical Jordan Poole would fetch a “worthwhile return” due to his early-season struggles and pricey long-term contract (he’s owed $123MM+ over the next four years).
  • The Rockets could be in the market for a backup center, sources tell Fischer. As Fischer explains, free agent addition Jock Landale hasn’t secured a rotation spot, averaging just 8.5 MPG in his 16 appearances, and the team might seek an upgrade behind Alperen Sengun.

Warriors Notes: Poole, Wiggins, Dynasty, Jackson-Davis

Friday night marks the first time Jordan Poole will return to Golden State since being traded from the Warriors for Chris Paul over the offseason. Poole’s time with the Warriors ended in a rough way despite an overall successful tenure, as a well-documented preseason incident with Draymond Green foreshadowed an uneven season that saw the Warriors fall in the second round of the playoffs and Poole average just 10.3 points per game in the playoffs (down from 20.4 in the regular season).

Poole went from a late first-round pick who struggled to find playing time in his first two seasons to an integral piece of Golden State’s championship run in 2021/22. His efforts earned him a contract extension from Golden State, good for four years and $123MM, but he never ended up playing on that deal before being moved.

With Poole traveling to Golden State on Friday, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater looked back at Poole’s time with the Warriors and caught up with all parties to determine what went wrong.

I look back at that, and I hate that it happened,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I know that in my heart, that when [the punch] happened, we handled it the best way we thought we could handle it. But in hindsight — and hindsight is always 20/20 — we could have done better for sure. I just hate the way it ended for Jordan here, because he is a huge success story. For us and for him, this was a great marriage. He helped us win a title. We helped him, you know, become a champion and a guy who signed a big contract, life-changing contract. It was all wildly successful. But I hate the way it ended.

The peak of Poole’s time with the Warriors was the championship year, as he averaged 17.0 points on .508/.391/.915 shooting splits. As Slater observes, Poole actually started over star Stephen Curry in those playoffs as the latter worked his way back from injury. Poole averaged 22.9 points and shot 46.2% from deep in his first eight playoff games that year.

We would not have won a championship in ’22 without him,Klay Thompson said. “Simple as that. So I hope Dub Nation shows him the right ovation on Friday night.

While the Warriors and Green have been more vocal about the punch that headlined a shifted locker room vibe and the subsequent fallout, Slater writes that Poole has continued to keep his cards close to his chest.

Successful time,” Poole said. “Learned a lot. Can’t ask for too much more than that. Won a championship. Played with Loon (Kevin Looney). Played with some of the greatest ever. Played with (Andrew Wiggins). Met great guys. The staff is good. It was a cool experience. It was just dope to accomplish something you’ve been looking for your entire life, winning a championship at the highest level, seeing what that takes.

We have more Warriors notes:

  • Wiggins, who was one of Poole’s best friends with the Warriors, per ESPN’s Kendra Andrews, also spoke highly of Poole and how he dealt with the altercation with Green. “He handled that better than 99 percent of people would,” Wiggins said. “He handled it like a true professional.
  • An NBA dynasty never lasts forever, opines The Ringer’s Howard Beck, and the Warriors are no different. While it may be true Golden State’s dynasty is coming to a close, it isn’t just because of Green’s recent suspensions, Beck writes. Things have been falling apart on the edges for Golden State for a while, and it’s seemingly coming together now, as the Warriors struggle through a lackluster start to the season. As Beck writes, the Warriors drafted James Wiseman over players like LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton and their attempts to develop a two-timeline system haven’t come to fruition yet. On top of that, championship architect Bob Myers is no longer with the team. Still, Beck cautions to not write the Warriors off yet, as they won a title in 2022 after some down years and still could pull things together.
  • The Warriors lost their first game after changing up their starting lineup, but have since strung together three wins in a row. Part of that success is coming from giving younger players extended run, and second-round rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis has stood out in each of the last two games. In those outings, he has averaged 12.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. According to Kerr, he’s going to be in the rotation moving forward. “He’s gonna play,” Kerr said (Twitter link via Slater). “He’s gonna be in the lineup.

Trade Breakdown: Chris Paul To The Warriors

This is the third entry in our series breaking down the significant trades of the 2023 offseason. As opposed to giving out grades, this series explores why the teams were motivated to make the moves. Let’s dive into a blockbuster deal between the Warriors and Wizards…

On July 6:

  • The Warriors acquired Chris Paul.
  • The Wizards acquired Jordan Poole, Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins, the Warriors’ 2030 first-round pick (top-20 protected), the Warriors’ 2027 second-round pick, and cash.
  • Note: The Wizards created a $3,344,643 traded player exception as part of this deal, which is the difference between Paul’s outgoing salary ($30,800,000) and the incoming salary of Poole ($27,455,357). Baldwin ($2,337,720) and Rollins ($1,719,864) were acquired via existing TPEs.

The Warriors’ perspective:

Poole being traded was seemingly inevitable as soon as the Warriors lost in the second round of the 2022/23 playoffs, with the young guard struggling mightily throughout the postseason. It had been clear for a while that it was probably going to come down to moving Poole or Draymond Green, whom the team re-signed to a four-year, $100MM contract in free agency.

The Warriors needed to reconfigure their chemistry and on-court results following an uneven attempt to repeat as champions last season. Instead of moving on from a core member of their dynasty, they traded Poole.

That really wasn’t much of a choice – Green has arguably been the best defensive player in the league over the past decade, helping Golden State reach six NBA Finals and win four championships, and Stephen Curry has referred to him as his favorite teammate.

Green has made plenty of poor decisions over the years – he’s annually one of the league leaders in technical fouls and has been suspended multiple times in the regular season and playoffs. Blowing up the Warriors’ season before it even began by punching a teammate he had previously mentored was a new low. And despite plenty of media grandstanding, he never publicly or privately apologized to Poole, according to Logan Murdock of The Ringer.

The organization has always catered to Green, as he didn’t even face punishment for the incident other than an undisclosed fine. Following a string of incidents in ’23/24, he received an indefinite suspension to (perhaps) address some of the underlying causes for his reckless behavior.

It’s worth noting that Green will make less money than Poole ($123MM+) over the next four years as well. Future payroll considerations played a significant factor in this deal, as owner Joe Lacob acknowledged in September.

The Warriors have had record-setting luxury tax bills for multiple years running, but Lacob has said they hope to be below the second tax apron in ‘24/25. Paul’s $30MM salary for ‘24/25 is non-guaranteed, while Poole will be in the second year of his rookie scale extension.

Even if Golden State wins the title in ‘23/24 – which is looking extremely unlikely at this point — I’d be shocked if the team guarantees Paul’s salary for next season. The only way that would make sense would be if the Warriors trade him for a roster upgrade in the offseason, but that would probably require taking on long-term money, which they’ve said they want to avoid.

That doesn’t mean the Warriors can’t try to re-sign Paul at a lower figure, assuming things turn around and he’s open to it. That would require a major discount though, as they’ll lose his Bird rights if they waive him — they’d likely be limited to offering him a minimum-salary deal unless they remove additional salary from their books.

The logic behind this trade made sense for the Warriors, but I’m sure it was painful to move Poole so soon after extending him, even if they view Paul as a short-term upgrade. That’s reasonable enough.

Paul is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, earning 12 All-Star berths, 11 All-NBA nods, and nine All-Defensive spots over the course of his 18 seasons. He has led the league in steals per game six times and assists per game five times, with three of those seasons overlapping.

Despite being 38 years old, Paul remains a clear upgrade over Poole in several areas. He’s a better rebounder, and there’s not so much a gap as a chasm between Paul’s defense, decision-making, passing, and ability to take care of the ball compared to Poole’s. Paul is nicknamed “the Point God” for a reason.

Turnovers were a major problem for the Warriors in ‘22/23, with the team ranking 29th in the league with a 15.8% turnover percentage. Poole was a major contributor to that, averaging 3.1 turnovers per game — second-most on the team behind Curry — and posting a 1.46-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, slightly worse than his career mark (1.61-to-1).

Remarkably, Paul has had an assist-to-turnover ratio below 3-to-1 only once in his career – back in 2019/20 with OKC, when he shared ball-handling duties and was more focused on scoring. And even then, it was just barely under (2.93-to-1). For his career, he’s at 3.98-to-1. Last season: 4.6-to-1. So far in ‘23/24: 6-to-1.

While it’s true that the Warriors had to attach some marginal assets to move Poole’s long-term contract, this trade does show one of the fringe benefits of rookie scale extensions: Having his salary already locked in for ’24/25 meant that Golden State didn’t have to deal with restricted free agency or work out a sign-and-trade, which is much more complicated, especially for the league’s biggest spenders.

He has never won a title, but Paul’s teams have made the playoffs 15 times in his 18 years in the league, including the last 13 seasons in a row.

His elite basketball IQ undoubtedly remains, but Paul’s ability to create shots for himself and convert them at a high level has taken a step back. Through 21 games, he has a career-low true shooting percentage (53.2%) and usage rate (15.0%). Part of that is due to the team’s roster construction, but he also isn’t playing at the same level as he did a couple years ago.

Obviously, there are major injury concerns as well, and Poole was quite durable, appearing in 76 and 82 regular season games the past two years (compared to 65 and 59 for Paul).

The Warriors miss Poole’s ability to generate offense for himself, take on an increased scoring load when Curry misses time, and get to the free throw line – Golden State was dead last in free throw attempts per game in ‘22/23, and Poole led the team with 5.1 per contest (just ahead of Curry at 5.0).

After starting the season 5-1, the Warriors have gone 5-13 over their past 18 games and currently hold a 10-14 record. The majority of those defeats have been very competitive, with blowing leads an issue of late. Still, as the saying goes, a loss is a loss.

With Golden State in a tailspin, it would be easy to point the finger at a newcomer like Paul. But the Warriors have been markedly better when he’s on the court and much worse when he’s off, and advanced stats say he’s been one of the more impactful players on the team.

Paul has been spearheading the second unit, which has undergone a remarkable turnaround to this point – it’s actually the starting unit that has struggled in ’23/24, not the reserves. Last season was the total opposite, as the starters were the best five-man group in the NBA and the bench was a major liability.

Both Rollins and Baldwin missed chunks of their rookie seasons in ‘22/23 and didn’t play much at the NBA level when they were healthy. They almost certainly weren’t going to have rotation roles for the Warriors this season either. The 2027 second-rounder isn’t a significant asset on its own.

Trading the 2030 first-round pick stings, even if it’s heavily protected (it will turn into Golden State’s 2030 second-rounder if it doesn’t convey). The primary reason for that has less to do with the pick itself and more to do with the Stepien rule, which will prevent the Warriors from trading their own first-rounders in 2029 and 2031, at least once they’re able to (you can only trade picks seven years out).

Dealing three young players and marginal draft assets for a future Hall of Famer who is still effective but clearly in the twilight of his career showed that new general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. is willing to make bold moves, particularly with an eye on future financial flexibility. I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Warriors trading Paul again this season either, depending on how they play in the next several weeks leading up to the deadline.

The Wizards’ perspective:

I admire Poole for two reasons. One, he’s a late first-round pick who struggled mightily early in his career, spent a lot of time in the G League, and then emerged as an important contributor on a championship team.

Two, I never once saw him publicly discuss last fall’s incident when he had every opportunity to throw Green and the Warriors under the bus. There are no “competitor” justifications for Green did – it was wrong, plain and simple.

Imagine being asked nearly every day about something terrible that happened to you, that millions of people witnessed via video, and you only take the high road. That says something about Poole as a person, regardless of what you think of him as player.

I can’t say I’ve ever been partial to Poole’s game. He’s undeniably talented, but flashy scorers who don’t play defense aren’t my cup of tea.

Paul didn’t fit the Wizards based on the position they’re currently in. Poole, Baldwin, Rollins and draft assets do.

As mentioned in a previous article, Paul was the primary salary-matching piece acquired in the Bradley Beal trade, so these two deals are directly connected. For the Wizards, this was about flipping Paul for as many assets as they could.

Is Poole even an asset right now? I would say no, he likely has negative value due to his declining play. But that doesn’t mean the reasoning for this trade was illogical at the time it was made.

It’s easy to overlook now that he’s no longer on the team, but Poole was a key member of the Warriors’ championship run in ’21/22, averaging 17.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists over 22 playoff games (27.5 minutes). He posted a .508/.391/.915 shooting line over that span for 65.4% TS – an elite mark. That’s a big part of why Golden State gave him the extension.

But the NBA is a “what have you done for me lately” league, and Poole struggled mightily last postseason, averaging more field goal attempts (10.4) than points (10.3) while his shooting rates dipped to .341/.254/.765 (a dreadful 44.7% TS) in 13 games (21.8 MPG). His apathetic defense, poor shot selection, questionable decision-making and inconsistency were issues throughout ‘22/23.

I thought Poole might have a turnaround with Washington in ‘23/24, and I wasn’t alone. In early August, one betting site had him as a way-too-early favorite for Most Improved Player.

Poole averaged 25.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists on 59.5% TS in 17 games with Curry sidelined in ‘21/22. He averaged 26.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists on 56.5% TS in 26 games with Curry injured last season. There were valid reasons to think he could put up big numbers this season.

I was wrong, and the Wizards’ gamble hasn’t paid off to this point. Poole has had a dreadful start to the season, with advanced stats indicating he has been one of the worst rotation regulars in the NBA – perhaps even the worst high-usage player in the league.

Poole’s numbers are down across the board — he has recorded fewer points, rebounds and assists per game in nearly the same amount of minutes as ‘21/22 and ‘22/23. His turnover rate is up and his assist rate is down. His efficiency has cratered, with his true shooting percentage down to 51.0%, compared to 58.4% over the last three seasons (for context, the league average TS in ’23/24 is 57.7%, but it’s nearly always a couple points lower for guards).

The Wizards are terrible. They’re 3-20, which remarkably is only tied for the second-worst record in the league.

Despite their overall ineptitude, there’s still no sugarcoating how poorly Poole has played in his 22 games. His net rating differential is a ghastly minus-19.9. When he’s off the court, the team actually has a (slightly) positive net rating – he’s the only player on the roster who holds that distinction.

Rollins has only played 49 minutes for the Wizards; Baldwin is at 36. You can’t draw any conclusions from sample sizes that small. They’re young, on relatively inexpensive contracts, and may or may not develop into useful NBA players.

Given Poole’s poor play and pricey long-term deal, the lack of roles for Rollins and Baldwin, and the fairly modest draft assets the Wizards acquired for Paul, you could argue the early return hasn’t been great for the Wizards. However, that’s only a small part of the bigger picture.

Beal’s contract is far more onerous than Poole’s, as he’s owed $208MM over the next four years and has a full no-trade clause. And he’s only played five games in ‘23/24 so far due to a back injury.

Beal, 30, had no place in a rebuild. Nor did Paul, whom the Suns reportedly considered waiving before making a high-risk, high-reward trade for Beal.

In total, when combining the two trades, the Wizards received Poole, Baldwin, Rollins, Landry Shamet, a top-20 protected first-rounder, four first-round swaps, seven second-round picks (one was sent to Indiana) and cash for Beal.

Poole is only 24 and doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Some of those pick swaps could be valuable in the future. Second-round picks can be useful, for trades and for finding diamonds in the rough. They could probably flip Shamet into another second-rounder or two if they want to move him.

The Wizards accomplished their overall goal of acquiring assets while getting younger and focusing on player development. Time will tell if they’re able to turn into a winning franchise, but they’ve been stuck in NBA purgatory for decades, and needed to get worse before they had a chance at getting better.

Wizards Notes: Poole, Jones, Gallinari, Coulibaly, Shamet

Wizards guard Jordan Poole, who is off to an inconsistent start with his new team, had his worst game of the season on Friday, scoring just eight points on 2-of-11 shooting and committing five turnovers in a 21-point loss to New York. His scoring average for the season is at 15.5 PPG on .392/.278/.813 shooting, well below the marks he posted during his last two seasons in Golden State.

After the loss, Tyus Jones said that he and the rest of the Wizards are trying to make sure that Poole stays positive, and expressed confidence that things will turn around before long for his backcourt partner.

“I think he’s probably putting a little too much pressure on himself,” Jones said (Twitter video link via Hoop District). “But it comes from a place of caring and wanting to be great and wanting to succeed, wanting to play well for not only himself but for his teammates, for the city, for the organization. It’ll work itself out. He’ll be good.”

Veteran forward Kyle Kuzma took to Twitter to voice his agreement with Jones’ assessment, responding to his teammate’s quotes with the “100” emoji.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Jones said he’s trying to make the Wizards’ front office “look good” for acquiring him and giving him an opportunity to be a starting point guard for the first time in his career. He also said he’s trying not to focus on his 2024 free agency as he plays out a contract year. “I like where I’m at. I like what we have here in D.C.,” Jones said. “I like the future and what this could be. I want to be a part of that. I’m looking forward to doing so.”
  • Scotto also spoke to Danilo Gallinari about the veteran forward’s desire to represent Italy in the 2024 Olympics and how much longer he’d like to continue his NBA career. “As long as my legs are underneath me, I want to play,” the 35-year-old said. “When you love basketball so much, in your head, you want to play until you’re 70, but of course your legs are not going to be there. As long as my legs are there, my mind is always going to be ready to go and be competitive. I just need my legs, and I’ll be good.”
  • Rookie forward Bilal Coulibaly has impressed the Wizards with his defensive effort this season and passed another big test this week when he held his own against Luka Doncic in Wednesday’s loss to Dallas, per Chase Hughes and Bijan Todd of Monumental Sports Network.
  • In a separate story, Hughes takes a look at what Landry Shamet – acquired from Phoenix in the summer’s Bradley Beal blockbuster – has brought to the Wizards, noting that his quick release has added a new element to the club’s second unit.