How the G League bubble can help turn Jordan Poole’s season around

Peninsula Premier Admin

Jordan Poole hasn’t yet decided what necessities he’s going to bring with him to the NBA G League bubble near Orlando. He’s just excited about finally getting consistent minutes.

“I’m just ready to play 15 games in 25 days,” Poole said before the Warriors played the Pistons at home Saturday, the day before he heads to Orlando to begin his mandatory quarantine. “So that’s all I needed to hear. A lot of games? I’m straight.”

Poole, the Warriors’ 2019 first-round pick, joins rookie Nico Mannion as part of Golden State’s G League team that’s set to participate in a 15-game season at the Walt Disney complex from Feb. 10-March 6. It will be the first time Poole has played regular rotation minutes since 2019.

Once in Orlando, the Santa Cruz Warriors and 17 other teams will operate within a bubble format and adhere to strict medical protocols similar to those enforced by the NBA over the summer. But because the Warriors did not participate in the resumed season, this will be a new experience for Poole.

Though Poole has friends who participated in the NBA’s bubble, he hasn’t called any of them to ask for tips on how to get through the experience, which several players had described as mentally and emotionally difficult. He has someone lined up to take care of his cat while he’s gone, but that’s about it.

Instead, Poole is focused on making the most of this opportunity. Having yet to crack Golden State’s regular rotation, this will be the first time Poole — who the Warriors selected with the No. 28 pick in 2019 — plays extended minutes since his G League stint last season.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Poole has appeared in 14 of 19 possible games and has averaged 8.8 minutes per game. Though his shooting percentages — 41.5 percent overall, including 30.3 percent from 3-point range — are up from an underwhelming rookie season, he is behind other guards Damion Lee, Kent Bazemore and Mychal Mulder on the depth chart.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JANUARY 30: The Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Poole (3) is congratulated by coach Steve Kerr after scoring 16 points against the Detroit Pistons at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

By playing in the G League, Poole will have a chance to run a professional offense, get up shots and develop with game reps. This is a familiar process for Poole, who turned around his 2019-20 season after a stint in the G League. Before playing for Santa Cruz, Poole was statistically one of the worst players in the NBA, averaging 7.1 points on 25.4 percent shooting, 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. After he returned to Golden State, his statistics improved across the board.

“It was good to play. Got the ball in my hands a little bit and was able to make some plays,” Poole said. “Went out there and got a little bit of game experience, and it just happened to translate.”

This could be an important process for Poole, whose third-year option for next season was picked up by the Warriors last month. While his development isn’t as central to Golden State’s future as James Wiseman’s or Eric Paschall’s, a leap from Poole could provide the Warriors with much-needed wing depth.

Poole’s growth could be especially helpful while Klay Thompson recovers from a torn Achilles. Plus, a better version of Poole next season would be beneficial since the tea, could potentially lose Brad Wanamaker, Bazemore and Kelly Oubre Jr. to free agency.

For now, though, that’s not Poole’s concern.

“I just want to play.”

Contributed by local news sources

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