Jordan Poole has been the talk of the town for the Golden State Warriors this preseason. The third-year guard has lit it up on offense, been a human highlight reel and is a near-lock for a spot in the starting lineup in place of the recovering Klay Thompson.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the 22-year-old’s work is done in improving his game.
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While Poole has put up these absurd stats in the team’s four preseason contests, head coach Steve Kerr said his performance during Tuesday’s 111-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers was a mixed bag.
“He’s just worked really hard and got a lot of confidence,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the win, per NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson.
Kerr on Poole: ‘His First-Half Defense Was Really Poor’
When addressing Poole’s work on the defensive end of the court Tuesday, Kerr was blunt.
“The thing we’re trying to press upon him now is his defense,” Kerr said. “It’s gonna determine everything. His first-half defense was really poor. In transition he wasn’t hustling back, wasn’t playing with any physicality.”
The Warriors are 4-0 in the preseason with one game left on Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. If the Dubs’ success carries over to the regular season, and Poole keeps doing what he’s been doing offensively, he will likely get a pass from fans if he takes one or two defensive possessions off in a game.
Kerr wants to see more out Golden State’s 2019 first round draft choice though.
“(Poole) started the third quarter the same way and we kind of jumped him a little bit and he really turned it on. So, it was good to see him turn it on. … The defense has to pick up,” Kerr said.
Warriors Projected Rotation for Opening Night vs. Lakers
With Poole breaking out in the preseason and the Andrew Wiggins situation seemingly (and finally) all squared away, the Warriors’ opening night starting lineup appears to be rounding into shape. Here’s the projected starting unit.
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Jordan Poole
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Draymond Green
C: Kevon Looney
Curry and Green were the two locks before training camp even began and once he finally got vaccinated, Wiggins was likely to slide into the small forward position. If he continues to play like a starter, Poole could hold down the fort until Thompson returns and down low, once it was realized that James Wiseman‘s sophomore season would be delayed, Looney was the choice by default.
Here’s some of the other faces that Dub Nation could see in uniform on opening night.
PG: Gary Payton II, Mychal Mulder, Damion Lee
SG: Andre Iguodala, Moses Moody, Avery Bradley
SF: Otto Porter Jr.
PF: Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica
The Warriors are very thin at center, so will likely have to rotate in Green and Bjelica for some “small ball” lineups until Wiseman returns.
The Warriors open their 2021-2022 regular season against the Lakers at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
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