With the Milwaukee Bucks’ acquisition of Damian Lillard and teams such as the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns improving, the 2023-24 NBA season is one of the most anticipated ones in recent memory.
But the one move pundits aren’t mentioning enough is the Washington Wizards’ addition of former Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole.
On Wednesday, a video went viral of Kevin Garnett’s podcast KG Certified. During the video, Garnett compared Poole’s situation to when James Harden left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Houston Rockets.
"“Jordan Poole is the new James Harden. Y’all remember when James Harden left OKC and he got to Houston and got right at it? Man, this is the Jordan Poole Show. Respect to Kyle Kuzma. Shout to you…I love you… He plays hard. But this dynamic, this little duo, is the new duo in the league. Not only do these two have that showmanship in them, but I think Jordan Poole feels like he’s been held back. And that’s how I felt James Harden felt when he came out of OKC.”"
Some might hear that and disagree. But, truth be told, he might have a point. When Harden was a member of the Thunder, he had to play with superstars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. It meant that, due to their high need to have the ball in their hands, he was unable to showcase his true talents. When Harden was in Oklahoma City, he only started in seven of the 220 games he played and averaged just 12 points.
However, when he was traded to the Rockets in 2012, that all changed. He averaged 29 points with them, quickly becoming one of the greatest scorers of all-time. Even though he was criticized for not being able to reach the NBA Finals, he still showed the league what he was capable of.
The same thing can be said about Poole. When he played with the Warriors, he wasn’t able to tap into his full potential. Sure, he logged in 15 points a contest but had to come off the bench while stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson led the way. Last season, he had his best year as he averaged a career-high 20 points. He even showed up big when Curry suffered a thumb injury against the Indiana Pacers on Mar. 16, averaging 27 points in his absence.
It seems like the Wizards got Poole at the right time. Last season, they were one of the worst teams in terms of scoring, ranking 21st in points per game. With Bradley Beal now playing for the Suns, the Wizards needed a primary scorer. Poole has obviously proven that he can score in a variety of ways, either from the paint or the 3-point line. Considering he is only going into his fifth year, he could definitely improve where he left off. If he does, the NBA could be looking into their next elite scorer.