Warriors

Statistical trends show Poole's continued growth for Warriors

Warriors

Week eight of the NBA season has come and gone, and the Warriors faced their first bit of adversity of the season, dropping three of their last six games.

As Steph Curry pursues the NBA 3-point record and Klay Thompson nears his return, the Warriors do have some speculative distractions.

But within the next week or so, those distractions will become realities. And the Warriors' already-great season will really start.

Here are some notes and observations about the last week of action:

1. The growth of Jordan Poole

It's no secret that the Warriors are intent on making Poole a reliable defender who can stay on the court in the closing minutes. However, they are also coaching the third-year player to take the most decisive and efficient shots possible. The statistical trends are showing he is doing exactly that.

In his first 15 games of the season, Poole had trouble finding consistency. While he was scoring a solid 16.5 points per game, his shooting averages of 42.6 percent from the field, and most significantly, 28.6 percent from 3-point land, were well below the standards of an efficient scorer.

The erratic shots and chaotic dribbling subsided over the last few weeks, and Poole's offensive production skyrocketed. In the last 11 games, Poole averaged 20.5 points per game, on 48.4 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from deep. He also has increased his rebounding (3.9) and assists (3.7) during that stretch.

It will be important for Poole to maintain the improved shot selection once Thompson returns and shots are a little harder to come by. Especially since with a little patience, wide-open shots will be available.

 

2. Andrew Wiggins is still rolling

It feels like the start of every week is a good time to check in and see if Wiggins is still playing aggressive and decisive basketball ever since his former Minnesota Timberwolves squad visited Chase Center. 

As a reminder, in the first 10 games of the season, Wiggins averaged 15.6 points per contest, on 43.5 percent shooting overall and 33.3 percent from deep. His knee had been bothering him, and it was very apparent his overall game was lackluster and relatively uninspired.

But as all of the league knows, everything changed in the 11th game. Starting with the "revenge game" against Minnesota, Wiggins has averaged 20.4 points on 52.2 percent shooting from the field and 46 percent from long-range in the 16 games since. With this recent surge, on the season Wiggins is shooting career-highs of 49 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from 3.

Like Poole, it will be interesting to see how Wiggins responds to Thompson's return. However, also like Poole, if Wiggins stays just as assertive on offense, he will experience open spacing on the court like never before.

3. The return of Klay Thompson 

Speaking of reminders, with Thompson on the verge of returning to action after a two-season long hiatus, there is no better time to look at the shooting the Warriors may be getting back on the court soon. 

Before his unfortunate slew of injuries, Thompson was coming off five-straight All-Star seasons in which he averaged 21.6 points per game to go with fantastic defense. There is a good chance both his scoring average and his overall defensive abilities will take a hit as he gets reacclimated to the NBA.

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However, one thing that could potentially stay constant is his historically-great shooting stroke.

Over his last five seasons of action, Thompson shot 47 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from deep. He made anywhere from 3.1 to 3.5 shots from 3-point land per game during that span, which directly added around 10 points to the Warriors' offensive output. Indirectly, however, Thompson's incredible ability to space the floor helped all of his teammates, including Steph Curry, find open shots and lanes every game.

It may take some time for Thompson to hit his stride out the gates, but once he does, the already-great Warriors will be vaulted to a whole new level.

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