Following the blockbuster trade that saw the Washington Wizards receive Jordan Poole, there is plenty of optimism surrounding the team and their new young combo guard. This optimism is not unfounded. Poole has been a monster in games where he has started so far in his career.
In only four seasons as an NBA player, Poole has gone from one of the worst players in the league, to a G-League player, to starting in the postseason over Stephen Curry. His career arc so far feels like it could be featured in a 2k game.
In his 115 career games where he was given the starting nod he averages 21.3 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. All this on pretty respectable shooting splits of 43% from the field, 34.8% from three, and 90.3% from the free throw line.
While these stats aren’t extraordinary, they include his first couple seasons where he was far from the scorer he is today and has seen his jumper improve by leaps and bounds. His point and assist totals also take a noticeable jump from his career stats to his numbers as a starter this season, going to 24.6 points and 4.6 assists in 43 games.
With Jordan Poole becoming a starter for the Washington Wizards, he could take a jump
One of the biggest issues with Jordan Poole as a player so far in his young career is his inconsistent role. One day, he could be filling in the point guard position behind Stephen Curry, the next, he could be starting at the two for Klay Thompson. In each role he is asked to play, he is also asked to provide different things.
With the Wizards, he would likely just be told to go do his thing and see what happens. While it is an entertaining thought, this will lead to some of the worst turnovers in basketball history as he has a nasty tendency to try to do too much.
He also ran into issues with behind-the-scenes drama. This includes former All-Star teammate Draymond Green punching him in practice, a clear divide in the locker room, and distrust amongst the five best players on the team.
Despite his struggles with understanding his own limits, Poole is a good player with immense talent at only 23 years old. An opportunity to be the main guy for a season or two may be all he really needs to iron out any weaknesses in his offense.
A leap is bound to happen for him this season. He still has quality spacing next to Tyus Jones, Corey Kispert, and Kyle Kuzma, and he will have the ball far more often than he did with the Warriors.
I recently wrote a piece predicting his stats that can be found here. The stats listed are still very much in the realm of possibility for all the reasons listed in that article as well as what’s listed above.
Those stats are plenty enough to make an All-Star team on a decent team, however the Wizards will more than likely be far from decent. They will be competing for Ron Holland more than Larry O’Brien.
This will leave Poole vulnerable to the “empty stats” argument that has caused many young stars to miss out on All-Star games in recent years.
However, there is one caveat to this argument. He was a key piece for a championship run only a year ago. He also led the Warriors to a winning record when he was the best player on the floor this season. This proves that he can contribute to winning as a major player on a team, defeating those talking points.
With Jrue Holiday getting up there in age, Kyrie Irving now on the Dallas Mavericks, and LaMelo Ball a huge question mark in the health department, the odds of him making All-Star weekend are much higher than they would have been in the Western Conference.
However, he will still need to compete with Darius Garland, Jalen Brunson, and potentially Damian Lillard for those two spots left by Irving and Holiday. Since all three of those players are (or could be) on playoff caliber teams, it seems unlikely that Jordan Poole would be able to beat them out in the voting process.
Ultimately, he probably will not make the All-Star game next season unless he is an injury replacement or a wild card selection. While unfortunate for the Wizards’ fanbase, it may just motivate the young star even more, allowing him to make many in years to come.