The Washington Wizards are 2-9, have one of the worst defenses of all time, and their star acquisition of the offseason, Jordan Poole has been one of the most disappointing players in the NBA so far. Therefore, the rumblings may be understandable, even if 11 games don’t seem like enough time to make a judgment on a team or a player. The latest reporting by Marc Stein suggests that the Wizards and Poole may not be long for each other.
"Did the Washington Wizards trade for Jordan Poole to try to rebuild his trade value to move him on in a future trade … or to make him a cornerstone player of their post-Bradley Beal future? My sense, from speaking to various league observers, is that more believe it is the former rather than the latter with Poole in Year 1 of a four-year, $123 million contract."
Stein is a credible source. There is no doubt that there is some truth to what “league observers” are saying about the Poole situation in Washington. Yet, it’s also important to note that Stein isn’t basing this on his conversations with the team officials or Poole’s circle. It’s merely what people around the NBA “believe”.
However, a reporter of Stein’s caliber would also not report this if there wasn’t some smoke. Poole has been a major disappointment so far, having his worst season in the NBA since his rookie year. He is averaging 16.2 points on 40.6% shooting from the field while putting up miserable defensive efforts night in and night out. There is a chance that the Wizards front office looks at that and thinks Poole can not be the face of the franchise going forward.
There is also a decent chance that they already knew that before trading for him. They presumably saw a player at the nadir of their trade value and a team in the Golden State Warriors desperate to trade him. They likely thought they could rehab his trade value.
They probably didn’t think Poole would start the season this poorly. This means that they can’t trade Poole until he starts playing better. Poole currently has a negative trade value considering his performance and salary. Unless Poole improves his defensive intensity, scoring efficiency, and overall impact, the Wizards don’t really have a chance but to hold onto him. So, this discussion about what Washington should do about Poole is futile unless he gets things back on track.
Acquiring Jordan Poole was a worthy gamble, and it still is. 11 games is not enough time to judge a long, rebuilding road ahead of the Washington Wizards. Time will tell what the future holds for both sides.