It wasn’t long ago that Jordan Poole seemed like an indispensable part of the Warriors future.
Now, it’s conceivable he’ll be playing elsewhere next season.
Poole’s season went out with a whimper thanks to a bad postseason. That capped off what was a tumultuous campaign for Golden State that started off with Poole getting clocked by Draymond Green.
Anyone would agree that set a terrible tone for the reigning champions. But now they’re at an inflection point as a franchise. Green is a free agent, Poole is coming off a bad year, and both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are closer to the ends of their careers than the beginning. Cap that off with a brutal miss on James Wiseman in the draft three years ago, and you’ve got yourself a potentially franchise-altering offseason in store.
Former NBA coach Avery Johnson told The Zach Gelb Show that the Warriors should move Poole and run it back with the Curry, Thompson, Green trio.
“You’ve got to move Jordan Poole,” Johnson said. “I just think in the back of his mind, he’s never going to get that video (out) of the back of his mind, I don’t know if they can survive with those guys being on the same team.
“Draymond couldn’t really be himself, I’ve heard him on interviews, he couldn’t always lead the way he wanted to lead because he always felt like he needed to apologize for that punch. So I think the best case moving forward is find Jordan Poole a new home, bring in another shooter that has a clean slate with the Warriors, specifically Draymond Green, and see then if you can move forward with the team that’s currently constructed.
“You still have the Splash Brothers, they still can splash, they’re still one of the top backcourts in the country. James Wiseman was a big miss, so you have to continue to figure out how to build your support staff and role players. But I think finding Poole a new home is going to be better for him, and it’s going to be better for the Warriors.”
Johnson could be right, but there are also some dynamics beyond 2023-24 at play. Effectively choosing an aging Green, who by his own admission only has a few more years left in the NBA, over Poole could be a poor long-term decision.
That said, Steve Kerr said this week the Warriors are not a championship team if Green is gone. Further, Poole hasn’t necessarily shown that he’s a player the Warriors can or should build around. That doesn’t mean he won’t be, but we probably won’t know that until a decision has already been made on his Golden State future.