OAKLAND -- The Warriors' newest first-round pick Jordan Poole found himself in rare circumstances Monday afternoon.
With injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Poole became the first Golden State first-round pick in half a decade to join a team that wasn't a prohibitive title favorite. Particularly given the notable absences on Golden State's roster, Poole hopes to make an immediate impact in his rookie season.
"It's an amazing organization, I'm just coming in and I know only so little about the entire situation," Poole said during his introductory press conference Monday. "Hopefully, we can find a way to bring everybody back."
Poole -- who the Warriors took 28th overall in last week's NBA draft -- joins Golden State as the franchise ponders its own uncertain future. In the next week, their two top free-agent targets -- Durant and Thompson -- will decide if they'll re-sign with the team. However, both will be expected to sit out most, if not all, of the 2019-20 season with major rehabilitation timetables. The absence of both players, who averaged nearly 47 points per game combined, will leave opportunities for Poole.
Throughout his collegiate career, Poole proved to be a capable scorer. In his sophomore season at Michigan, he averaged 12.8 points per game, shooting a team-high 37 percent from 3-point range. With the Warriors, Poole believes he can help overcome Golden State's supplemental scoring woes.
"I wouldn't feel pressure," Poole said. "I feel like scoring is a strength of mine and it's something has gotten me to this level and it's upgraded me as an individual so I think that's another reason why they've wanted me here."
"I have a really good opportunity obviously with Klay out ... but just coming in learning, whether it's in practice and summer league and being a sponge and taking everything in," Poole added. "The opportunity will present itself, but being able to feel like I can make an impact and if there's an opportunity I'm definitely going to try to take it."
Minutes into Poole's press conference, Warriors general manager Bob Myers pointed out the makeshift stage was just under Draymond Green's basket at the practice facility, then gestured across the way to point out Stephen Curry's post-practice basket. The message was simple: Work hard and you will be rewarded.
“We’ll give you every chance to meet all of your goals and expectations. But most of it is going to be because of the work you put in,” Myers said.
While a competent scorer, Poole's defense was maligned during his college career. With a habit of ball-watching and poor closeouts, Poole will need to follow a strict learning curve to get on the floor under head coach Steve Kerr. "I think that I know that personally and obviously everyone else knows that as well," Poole admitted. "But it's an improvement that I plan on making. I've made it from high school to freshman year to sophomore year. That just comes with time and physically and your body. I'm still learning my body but it's something I'm working on a lot. Being able to be a two-way player offensively and defensively."
The Warriors are doing their part to make sure Poole is groomed. Just after the rookie was drafted, Green texted Myers conveying his approval of the pick. A week later, Poole walked into Rakuten Performance Center to find that his locker was right next to the former Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, during the press conference, Poole cited Curry as a player he'd model his game after. In the coming months, it will be Curry, alongside Green, who will mentor the guard as he tries to make a mark in his rookie season.
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"I think it's a huge compliment that I'm around some of the best offensive players, if not the best offensive players in the game," Poole said. "Night in, night out just practicing against Steph and Klay, being able to just find ways to challenge them and being able to have that experience in practice going throughout the season, it grows. So I think I'm just extremely blessed to be in the situation I'm in."