Eclectic Warriors rookie guard Jordan Poole attaining early success

Eclectic Warriors rookie guard Jordan Poole attaining early success

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's roughly 45 minutes after the Warriors 123-101 preseason-opening defeat to the Lakers and Jordan Poole is still in full uniform. 

In the bowels of Chase Center, he's participating in a postgame workout alongside Golden State's newest young core. But the music blaring isn't the typical bass-heavy beat that encourages cardiovascular activity. Instead, a mix of SZA, Tyler the Creator and Travis Scott are playing, courtesy of Poole's iPhone.  

"That's exclusive," Poole boasts. "It's vibes fasho."

For much of his life, Poole has shown an eclectic personality, which has manifested itself on the court as a dependable scorer. Through two preseason games, he's averaging 18 points on 47 percent from the field. One of eight summer additions, the 20-year old is inheriting a team without Kevin Durant and waiting for Klay Thompson.  

As his tenure with the team continues, the rookie is hoping to integrate himself quickly on a team in transition. 

"Jordan has had two excellent nights shooting the ball," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following Thursday win over the Timberwolves. "He's had a hell of a camp."

In the win, Poole finished with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, giving a glimpse of his offensive potential. Nine minutes into the second quarter, he made an open 3-pointer off a Draymond Green assist. A minute later, he ran a pick and roll with Marquese Chriss before making an off-balance floater. 

His offensive outbursts have become routine. In last week's loss to the Lakers -- with his team down double digits -- Poole scored eight second-quarter points to help cut the Lakers' lead to eight, garnering praise from teammates and coaches alike. 

"We like his aggression," Kerr said. "I don't mind him taking quick shots. I want him to feel confident and comfortable out there and he's a very confident young player and we're going to try to feed into that." 

"He's really advanced," Warriors forward Draymond Green added. "He's very good with the basketball and he can shoot it, which is obviously a premium in this league today. He can really create shots for himself and really stretch that floor out."

While offense comes easy for Poole, defense continues to be a focus. Against the Timberwolves, he was active. Four minutes into the second quarter, he barked out orders to D'Angelo Russell to switch onto his man before stripping forward Naz Reid. A minute later, guarding Jaylen Nowell, he shuffled his feet as the guard used a spin move and blocked his shot out of bounds.  

"Just trying to be a two-way player," Poole said Thursday. "That's really all it is to it. I mean its just effort and all these guys know how to play D so it makes it pretty easy when everybody else is very cohesive on the defensive end." 

Such an effort wasn't seen consistently during his college career at Michigan. While he led the Wolverines in scoring last season, his defensive attention was maligned, leading to a reputation he's trying to shake. 

"A narrative gets put out and that's kind of what you get labeled as," Poole said. "But you can always work on defense and everybody. I'm just gonna to continue work on it day in and day out." 

"I feel like I know I can score the ball and I'm really good on offense and be able to lock up on the perimeter," he added. "I feel like that will take me to the next level."

Back in the training room, Poole is continuing to lift as Tyler, The Creator's "EARFQUAKE" plays on full blast, prompting a mood more appropriate for a date than a workout. Even two-way guard Damion Lee shakes his head at the juxtaposition as he walks past. 

[RELATED: Steph scores 40, asserts aggression with new-look Warriors]

Poole boasts there are about 500 hundred songs on this particular playlist, but won't divulge the lucky artists on it. He says he might drop it on his Instagram soon, giving his more than 180,000 followers some insight into what his new team is already beginning to find out. 

"I feel like I'm a pretty smooth-like individual," he admits. "After all the hoopla, like all the stuff going on in the game, before the game, all the upbeat stuff you gotta be chill and mellow." 

Why Steve Kerr confident Warriors rookie Jordan Poole will get better

Why Steve Kerr confident Warriors rookie Jordan Poole will get better

Jordan Poole is in a shooting slump.

Over the first five games of the season, the Warriors rookie shot 38 percent (11-for-29) from beyond the arc.

But over his last nine appearances, Poole is at a dismal 18 percent (9-for-50) from deep, and just below 24 percent overall.

"Jordan is a young guy, he should be a junior in college and he should be coming into a situation where he's getting shots of Steph Curry or Klay Thompson; or playing behind those guys, learning from them every day in practice," coach Steve Kerr told reporters after practice Tuesday. "Maybe making an occasional visit to Santa Cruz to get a lot of playing time.

"That's how ideally you want to raise a young guy, but we don't have that luxury. So we're throwing him right into the fire. He's working his tail off. He's doing a great job.

"This league is unforgiving for a young player. He's just gotta keep doing what he's doing. Keep watching film and keep learning from his experience. He's gonna get better.

"We have great faith in that because of his ability and his character. He'll get there but it's a difficult time for him for sure."

(Quick tangent -- Santa Cruz could have used Poole on Sunday as the Sea Dubs lost to the Salt Lake City Stars, 102-77).

The 20-year-old went 1-for-8 overall (0-for-5 on 3s) last Friday against the Celtics.

He was 0-for-7 from the field (0-for-3 on 3s) Sunday night in New Orleans, and when it rains it pours:

What's strange is that the Michigan product is getting good looks:

But it hasn't been all bad for Poole.

"The one thing I'm really pleased with -- I think his defense has been much better," Kerr said. "He's starting to understand the NBA game and the schemes and the coverages. The things you have to do as a guard -- he's picking up on all those things.

"His defense is way better now than it was a month ago. That's a great sign and he's gotta stay with it."

Kerr is correct, and here are two examples from the Warriors' loss in Oklahoma City on Nov. 9 to prove it:

Additionally, Poole is averaging 2.4 assists over the last nine games.

[RELATEDWhy Draymond says Paschall doesn't even know NBA game yet]

But understandably so, the focus is on his shooting struggles.

"He's pressing. I know exactly how he feels," Kerr added. "I was in a similar circumstance as a younger player -- not getting this amount of playing time -- but my first year in the league feeling like, 'Man, this is totally different from college.'

"This is all brand new for Jordan and we're trying to help him through it."

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Why Draymond Green believes Eric Paschall doesn't know NBA game yet

Why Draymond Green believes Eric Paschall doesn't know NBA game yet

Besides all of the injuries, Eric Paschall has been the story of the Warriors' season so far.

The rookie is averaging 16.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 52 percent overall.

The No. 41 overall pick racked up 30 points and seven rebounds Sunday night in New Orleans, on a very efficient 10-for-17 from the field.

Not bad for a guy who doesn't have a clue what he's doing when he takes the floor (sarcasm font).

"Sometimes he can get a little lost out there, not knowing where to go," Draymond Green told reporters after Golden State's 108-100 loss. "Just trying to help him find his spacing.

"Right now, he’s just scoring off raw talent. He really don’t know how to play the NBA game. As he figures out more and more the NBA game, how to get fouled, he’ll get better and better.”

Paschall certainly got fouled against the Pelicans, as he shot a career-high 10 free throws (he made eight to put him at just over 84 percent on the year).

The three-time All-Star clearly is trying to motivate the 23-year-old and wants him to stay hungry.

Draymond assisted Paschall on three buckets Sunday, and you better believe that he is going to do everything he can to help the rookie continue to grow:

Furthermore, you got to love this aggression:

Paschall probably doesn't have much of a chance to win Rookie of the Year, but at this rate he absolutely will make one of the two All-Rookie teams (quite possibly First Team).

[RELATEDHow Draymond is leading Dubs through ‘frustrating’ season]

The opportunities will keep coming.

“Where we are right now, without D’Lo (D'Angelo Russell), we have to continue to find ways to get Eric the ball in different situations,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Because he’s our best scorer.”

We all saw that coming before the season started, right?

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