SACRAMENTO – Jordan Poole hasn’t been a Warrior for long. A dozen days passed between being the NBA draft’s No. 28 overall selection and his first game wearing blue and gold, offering little time to absorb, analyze and apply all that happened in between.
One example of the upheaval experienced in that interim: Poole met Andre Iguodala shortly after getting drafted. Now, Andre’s no longer on the team.
Neither is Kevin Durant. D'Angelo Russell is now. Kevon Looney is back. So is Klay Thompson, though he’ll be rehabbing an ACL repair most of the 2019-20 season.
While Poole is focused on learning the Warriors way during NBA summer league here in Sacramento and later in Las Vegas, he doesn’t live under a soundproof rock with no cell service. He’s keenly aware of what’s going on beyond his task at hand.
“It’s kind of hard to (avoid it),” Poole said. “There’s a lot going on. A couple days ago, that first night (of free agency) it was pretty wild. Everything is getting done for a reason. I’ve never paid attention to it before because I wasn’t on a team, but seeing who you’re going to be playing with and who you won’t be playing with, who’s on the team and who’s not on the team, is definitely something you can’t avoid.”
He has been able to focus on learning a new system and making strides in summer league, which opened Monday with a loss to Sacramento at Golden 1 Center.
“Coaches have been talking to him about what we expect and how he can improve, and he has been a sponge,” Warriors summer league coach Aaron Miles said. “He’s going to have lumps just like any other rookie player. As long as you have perseverance and stay coachable, you can reach that potential.”
Poole’s potential is high, with shooting skills the Warriors will need right away.
“He has a nice shot. …I think he’s good moving off the ball, which is good for our offense,” Miles said. “We play a little motion offense, so you have to be able to shoot on the move. This year, not having Klay is going to hurt. If that’s how we’re going to play, we’ll find somebody that has that ability.”
Poole has the ability and mindset to fill that role, as we saw Monday night against the Kings. Poole was active and aggressive in his first game wearing blue and gold.
He wasn’t going to cower or go tentative in this situation, and offered a perfect reason why after a Tuesday morning workout.
“I’m a shooter. I make shots. It’s what I do, so I can’t just stop shooting if I don’t make a couple. I was being aggressive and trying to open things up for other guys.”
In short: Shooters shoot, even when they aren’t falling. He was 3-for-12 and 0-for-6 from 3-point range, but the selection was pretty good. Coaches and players alike can live with that.
“The way you keep confidence is if you’re shooting the right shots,” Miles said. “If you miss, you miss. But a good shot is a good shot. He had a few questionable ones, but for the most part he’s shooting the right shots.”