Shortly after being traded to the Washington Wizards, Jordan Poole was already being touted as the next star of the franchise. While much of that has been quieted by the hype surrounding Bilal Coulibaly, there may still be some truth to Poole being great on the Wizards.
It is worth noting that while his stats have been great, Poole has been stuck in a system that did not highlight his strengths with the Golden State Warriors, he was also stuck behind two of the league’s all-time great guards who are still more than productive.
Jordan Poole was on par with Wizards’ legend Gilbert Arenas statistically last season
Despite last season being considered a down year for the rising star, Jordan Poole’s numbers were still elite. Once we get past the three-point percentage dipping and the early-season turnovers due to enforcing certain rules more strictly, it’s clear that the 24-year-old took a step forward last year.
In fact, when we look at the per 36 minute stats, he averaged 24.5 points, 5.4 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.9 steals per game. He achieved these stats shooting 43% from the field, 33.6% from three-point range, and 87% from the free throw line or 57.3% true shooting percentage.
This is particularly impressive when compared to Wizards’ legend Gilbert Arenas who in his three-year prime lasting from the 2004-’05 season to the 2006-’07 season, averaged 24.3 points, 5 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per 36 minutes. He averaged these numbers while shooting 43.2% from the field, 36.1% from three, and 82.6% from the line or 57% true shooting.
This comparison is especially interesting given the fact that this was the worst shooting season Poole has had from deep since his rookie year. If he would have shot the expected percentage from deep (around 36%), his numbers would have surpassed Arenas in shooting percentage and in points per game.
The initial arguments to these stats would be “per 36 minute stats aren’t accurate” and “they played in different eras.” And both of these points are valid, however, per 36 minute stats are fine, but only when comparing players who both played heavy minutes. Poole averaged 30 minutes per game last season and Arenas played 41 minutes per game during his prime.
As for the different eras, the largest difference between the era Agent Zero played in and last season is the pace of play. This makes comparing stats per 100 possessions a far better stat to compare the two. Even then, the newly acquired Wizards holds his own.
While Gilbert Arenas does admittedly have a slight lead, it is slight. He put up 34.8 points, 7.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per 100 possessions at his peak.
Jordan Poole only put up 32.2 points, 7.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per 100 possessions.
Again, if Poole were to match his expected three-point percentage, he would likely match Arenas’s scoring output in this metric. An impressive feat for any player, especially one who was considered a problem on the floor last season.
Even better, he still has room to improve as he has added different levels to his game every season of his career so far. I doubt that trend ends now that he’s on the Wizards.
If Jordan Poole can take that next step to become a Gilbert Arenas level player for the Washington Wizards next season, it will be huge for the development of the team moving forward. Adding that level of play to a young core can only mean good things for the team.