From the first preseason game this year and onward, it was clear Jordan Poole would put up points for the Warriors. His defensive miscues, however, were just as clear.
Just three games into the season, the third-year pro has made major strides on the defensive side of the ball and his coaches have taken notice. Steve Kerr shined a light on Poole's defense Sunday night after the Warriors' 119-107 win over the Kings, and assistant Mike Brown had even more to say Monday morning on 95.7 The Game.
"To Jordan's credit -- myself, Steve and the rest of the coaches, we've been calling him out the last four or five days in a positive way," Brown said on "The Morning Roast." "I've been in the league almost 30 years. I don't know if I've seen a guy improve defensively as much as Jordan has in a week's time.
"He's going from just an OK defender to a very good one."
Though it's a small sample size, Poole is averaging career highs in steals per game (1.7) and blocks per game (0.3). Poole's defensive box plus-minus is just minus-1.6, but his defensive rating has improved from 114 a season ago to 105 so far this season.
Kings rookie Davion Mitchell did score 22 points off the bench against the Warriors, however, the rest of Sacramento's backcourt struggled. De'Aaron Fox scored 17 points, Tyrese Haliburton scored just eight and Buddy Hield was even worse with six points on 2-of-11 from the field.
"We have some concepts that we look at defensively," Brown said. "He's hitting home run marks in most of our concepts that we throw out there to our team, because he wants to get better. He's showing his quickness, he's showing his length, he's showing his physicality and he's showing his understanding on that end of the floor."
Of course, scoring always will be Poole's calling card. He scored 22 points against the Kings, and is averaging 17 points per game. If the young guard continues working on what was seen as his weakness, Brown believes we could be seeing a star in the making.
"I tell him this all the time: 'Jordan, if you can get there on that end, you're looking at an All-Star caliber player,' " Brown said. "That's the only piece that he's missing for a young guy. He's been fantastic. I can't give him enough credit in terms of the jumps and the leaps that he's made on the defensive end of the floor.
"It's been head and shoulders above everybody else on our team."