November 28, 2022

After signing a lucrative contract extension in October, this couldn’t be the start of the season Jordan Poole had envisioned for himself.

The Golden State Warriors guard has averaged 15.2 points in his 11 games this season. That’s slightly lower than his average of 18.5 points per game last season, a breakout year in which he averaged 25.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists per night in the regular season after Stephen Curry came down with a foot injury. Hen then averaged 17.0 points while shooting 50% in his playoff games during Golden State’s run to an NBA title.

That attacking efficiency has eluded the 23-year-old this season. Poole has shot just 29.5% of the field over his last four games and a modest 40.6% this season overall, leaving the Warriors’ struggling second unit without its much-needed scoring punch.

It could also leave Warriors fans wondering: why?

“Just getting his confidence and rhythm back,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “This mainly happens with young players. It’s such a long season, you go through some funks.”

It’s not that Poole hasn’t shown flashes of the game that landed him his guaranteed $123 million deal during the off-season. Think of his strong first half in a loss to Phoenix, his strong second half in a loss to Charlotte and a 30-point burst of 10-for-21 shooting in a loss to Detroit. But there is no fluidity or consistency in Poole’s game at the moment, and on an overnight basis, the team isn’t sure what to expect.

Kerr started Poole in the second half of Monday’s win over Sacramento to get him going and spread the floor. While that lineup allowed the Warriors to establish themselves as the aggressors, Poole still couldn’t find a rhythm. He tried just four shots all night, the third time he’s tried seven shots or less in a game this season while playing at least 20 minutes.

Poole was seen as one of the clear front-runners for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award going into the season, and while there’s still a lot of basketball left, it’s safe to say he’s not even in the conversation at this point. .

The Warriors’ lack of a clear second-unit rotation seems to affect Poole’s play in particular. There is a degree of uncertainty in his game at the moment, not knowing whether to prioritize scoring or making play based on who is on the pitch with him. Sometimes there is a clear lack of aggression. Other times he seems to be pressing, putting way too much pressure on himself to create every time he touches the ball. Poole has averaged career-worst and team-worst 3.2 turnover per game this season. He has already played five games this season in which he turned the ball at least four times.

“He has to find that balance,” Curry said.

Poole is at his best when he plays in the flow of the Warriors’ attack, both on and off the ball, getting easy scoring opportunities whether it’s a catch-and-shoot from the perimeter or the edge under pressure move with strong, creative drives. the defense falters. However, given how stagnant Golden State’s second-unit attack can be at times, those opportunities haven’t always been there and his offensive contributions have diminished as a result.

“He’s on the scouting report for most teams now, he won’t sneak up on anyone,” Curry said. You actually have to let the game come to you.”

Kerr sounds confident Poole will come out of his early season funk, but right now, time is of the essence. The 4-7 Warriors, 4-7 in 12th place in the Western Conference standings, start Tuesday’s games, their bench battle is a major reason why and they don’t have much more wiggle room to avoid falling into a deeper hole. fall in the early season. Poole is believed to be the leader of the second unit. As he improves, so should that group in general. His consistency is key to solving the team’s complicated bank puzzle.

Fortunately for Golden State, Poole’s struggles didn’t seem to deter his work ethic. In a radio interview, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Poole came in for training on Tuesday even though the team’s practice facility was closed.

“He’s a special boy, he works very hard,” said Andrew Wiggins. “He’s coachable and wants to get better and better, so I have faith in him. I think he’s going to have a great year. Slowly the season starts, that happens. But I think he’s going to make it and have a special year. ”

CJ Holmes covers the Warriors for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @CjHolmes22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *