Golden State Warriors star Jordan Poole is fresh off the best year of his young professional career.
Although he petered out a bit towards the end of his team’s championship run, for large swaths of the 2021-22 NBA season he was objectively Golden State’s second-best offensive player.
Understandably, Poole really expected to secure the bag this offseason – but that simply hasn’t materialized for him. It is increasingly looking like he will need to play out his current deal and reach restricted free agency before truly getting paid.
One hesitation the Warriors may have when it comes to giving Poole the sort of money he is looking for is how incomplete he still is as a player. Without Andrew Wiggins’ stellar defense to compensate for Poole’s shortcomings, it’s fair to wonder whether he would’ve enjoyed as much success.
Recently, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr revealed the one area he wanted Poole to focus on improving.
“I don’t know that he can do anything more to step up offensively,” Kerr said on 95.7 The Game’s “Damon & Ratto” show this past week.
“So the area where he can still improve is at the defensive end. I thought last year in the playoffs when he was fully engaged and really playing with physicality, he showed he can be a legit two-way player, but he knows he hasn’t become that consistently. And so that’s the next step for Jordan.”
Poole is an extremely potent offensive threat. His 18.5 points per game on 36 percent shooting from beyond the arc last season was no joke. There is a reason one team out there is really taking a hard look at stealing him from the Warriors.
Plus, Poole is a fun personality. Him attempting to impress two blonde girls sitting courtside, publicly flirting with Malika Andrews on ESPN and all his good times with his girlfriend were legitimately funny stuff that endeared him to fans.
But if he could just work on his defense a little bit, Poole could legitimately reach star level in the NBA.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/8nvrohDUvF
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 11, 2022
Will Poole use the fact that Golden State didn’t give him the payday he wanted as additional motivation to go out and become the sort of defensive player Kerr clearly wants him to be?
Time will tell.