As we approach the start of the regular season, details about the vision and the on-court plan for the Washington Wizards are becoming more clear. Team president Michael Winger and GM Will Dawkins shed some light on what to expect from the 2023-24 Washington Wizards in their press conference yesterday.
One of the interesting parts of the press conference was when Dawkins talked about Jordan Poole and his role on the team. Highlighting the fact that they were impressed by Kuzma and Poole’s leadership and how they embraced the team as their own, Dawkins underlined his vision for Poole’s fit on the court as well. Chase Hughes who covers the Wizards for Monumental Sports Network reported from the press conference:
This is remarkable because Jordan Poole was certainly “on the ball” quite a bit with the Golden State Warriors. He had a usage rate of over 25% for three straight seasons. He may not have been the primary initiator of offense when Steph Curry was on the court, but he led bench units and ran plenty of pick-and-rolls and isolations.
The fact that the front office wants to see Poole even more “on the ball” gives us a better idea of what the Wizards offense may look like. Poole will likely be the primary creator and have the ball in his hands more than Tyus Jones and Kyle Kuzma. It could even mean heavy minutes with Poole as the point guard. This could signal a potential Tyus Jones trade as well.
If Poole is going to be utilized heavily as the pick-and-roll operator, Jones is not very useful as an off-ball player. Perhaps we could see the lineup of Poole, Kispert, Avdija, Kuzma, and Gafford more regularly than initially thought.
Referring to Poole as a “pre-prime player” that they want to develop indicates how the Wizards management sees him. The trade to bring him in in exchange for Chris Paul was likely more about the potential they see in Poole rather than wanting to trade Paul. Trusting Poole with the ball to see whether he can “expand his game” suggests that the former Warriors man might be here for the long haul. Let’s see what Poole can do in his expanded role this season.