Andre Igoudala was one of the leaders on the Golden State Warriors dynasty. He’s watched Jordan Poole work his way from an opportunistic and hungry rookie to the young budding star talent he is today. He has taught him some things along the way and they helped the Warriors win the 2022 championship.
Flash forward to today: Igoudala is mulling retirement and Poole is now the new face for a rebuilding Wizards roster. Certainly, far different situations for them than they saw in 2022.
Igoudala as well as Evan Turner have a podcast called “Point Forward”. The two former 76er teammates joined JJ Redick on his “Old Man & the Three” podcast recently and discussed Igoudala’s time playing alongside Poole. Iggy spoke about Poole feeling negatively about his role on the Warriors as the Sixth Man.
“Jordan was like, ‘Why can’t I go out and be free like them?’ Yeah, he doesn’t have four rings, he has one. But he won us a game in the finals. He’s coming back like, ‘No, I’ve shown y’all that, give me some freedom. And I’m second on the team in scoring. So, why should I be the guy that has to dial back?’”
Poole was the third leading scorer on the championship team despite coming off the bench. He wanted to be able to play more freely and have the ultimate green light with the Warriors. He felt like he’s sacrificed enough for the team, and it was time for him to get more shine.
This could be one of the reasons why the Warriors decided to trade Poole as they knew he wanted a bigger role. Poole has earned the right to feel that way because he has shown flashes of greatness on offense. He even won the Warriors a game in the Finals.
It makes perfect sense for Jordan Poole to seek a larger role with a team
It is only human nature to want more out of your situation especially after you proved you can handle the pressure. During the first round of the 2022 Finals, Steve Kerr decided to start him at point guard as Stephen Curry was recovering from injury, having him come off the bench. Poole responded with averaging 21 points and 5 assists against the Denver Nuggets, posting a 30 point in Game 1 and 29 in Game 2 and 27 in Game 3.
Igoudala also touched on Poole’s desire to be a better defender. The 19-year NBA vet, who is known for his defensive prowess, said he told Poole that it looks like he’s trying NOT to play defense. As in Poole is putting an effort to not guard. That kind of mentality and laziness can’t be a winning formula if he looks to be a leader for his new team.
I don’t believe that Poole will make an All-NBA Defensive team but his effort on defense will need to improve. Teams may look to single him out on defense which can be embarrassing, so he would have no choice but to lock in on that side of the ball.
I’m sure Andre Iguodala showed Jordan Poole some defensive tips while they shared time in the Bay Area but it ultimately comes down to effort. He has all the skills offensively to be a go-to guy but the next step in his development will have to be his commitment and willingness to play defense.