Sometimes a deep breath, a step away and a change of scenery are exactly what an athlete needs. That seems to be especially true for Jordan Poole. Taking a trip down to the Orlando NBA G League bubble wound up giving a jolt to the young Warriors guard.
But his teammate, Kelly Oubre Jr., believes Poole never belonged in the G League.
"I don't think he should have been in the G League, to be honest," Oubre said to reporters Wednesday night after the Warriors' 108-94 win against the Houston Rockets. "But he did go down there, he kept his head high and he came back out on top.”
Poole, just 21 years old, was averaging just 9.6 minutes and 5.5 points per game through January for the Warriors. He didn't play a single minute in five of Golden State's first 20 games. And then, he joined the Santa Cruz Warriors and thrived playing in Walt Disney World.
Over 11 games with Santa Cruz, Poole played 33.4 minutes per contest and averaged 22.4 points per game, showcasing the scoring ability that had the Warriors select him in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. That same ability has carried over in five games since Poole returned to the Warriors.
Poole scored 23 points and made a career-high six 3-pointers in the Warriors' win over the Rockets. He's now averaging 19.0 points off the bench while playing 22.5 minutes and shooting 45.9 percent from deep in the Warriors' last five games. As players and coaches alike praised Poole on Wednesday night, Oubre showed a sincere appreciation for his young teammate.
"He is a special individual, man," Oubre said. "He's always in high spirits. He continues to work and get better, and that's all you really can ask from a young player like that. At the end of the day, we only have our work ethics to show on our resumes and that translates to results on the court.
"Just to see what he's doing right now, I'm really not surprised because I see him in the gym all the time. I'm happy for him, extremely."
The work certainly is translating to results for Poole. He's giving the Warriors a much-need scoring option and sparkplug off the bench, something that has been missing this season.
Oubre knows what it's like to work your way up in the NBA. He has done exactly that in his journey from the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns and now the Warriors, slowly but surely earning more minutes and averaging more points every season. Poole has put in the work, earning respect from Oubre and everyone else in the organization.
The Warriors are the beneficiaries of Poole's work ethic, and this now could be the perfect marriage between Golden State and the electric Michigan product.