Jordan Poole has unquestionable potential. He’s already shown flashes of that potential while being overshadowed playing with future Hall of Famers. Now it’s time to show what he can do as the first option on his own team.
Poole can be the primary scorer on a -.500 team if he has a co-star. In the 26 games that Steph Curry missed last season, Poole was inserted into the starting lineup and put up 26 points and 5 assists per game over that span. Overall, Poole started 43 games the whole season and averaged close to 25 points and 5 assists. In those games, the Warriors went 14-12. Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson also sat out during some of those 26 games.
So even though Poole has had his struggles with efficiency and turnovers, he still has shown flashes that he can lead a team to wins either in a sixth-man role or as the primary option in the starting lineup. The Warriors scored around 38 bench points/game with Curry out and around 37 bench points/game with Curry playing. This means that bench players like Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, JaMychal Green, and Donte DiVincenzo got more opportunities as they had to make up the load of Poole moving into the starting lineup.
The Warriors have struggled without Steph Curry over the last decade plus. Before last season where they went 14-12, they have not had a winning record without him since he came into the league. Considering that Curry was drafted in 2009, this means that Poole is the first player to accomplish this feat during the Curry era; not Kevin Durant, not Thompson, not Wiggins, not Green, and not Monta Ellis.
So with the success that Poole has shown in both roles and the ability to make an impact playing with and learning from those Hall of Famers, Poole can lead the team to a potential play-in game. With the championship experience, he gained with the Warriors, alongside Kuzma, who also has championship experience and can step up as that co-star, he can lead the Wizards to a quicker rebuild than fans are expecting.
Everyone is expecting Poole to average north of 25 points this season, but don’t be surprised if he decides to sacrifice some of his scoring to become more of an all-around threat. He may look to facilitate the offense more, giving the rest of the team opportunities to score, which would be a maturation in his game.
He is taking on a leadership role with this new team, so Poole will not only be looked at to score the basketball but also to run the offense.
Opposing teams will look to key in on Poole, and potentially double-team him on a nightly basis, so his assist numbers might go up. Some of the greatest scorers not only are great at putting the ball in the basket, but they also know when to set their teammates up for a bucket. Reading defenses, and understanding how the opposing team is going to guard you will set Poole apart as he looks to grow into his new role.