Klay's praise of Poole shows belief in how good Warriors can be

Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole

Klay Thompson has yet to share the court with Jordan Poole, but he has been watching as the electric young guard has evolved from an erratic rookie into a dynamic contributor for a Warriors team with legitimate championship aspirations.

Poole currently is keeping Thompson's spot in the starting lineup warm as the five-time All-Star finishes rehabbing from the torn right Achilles that kept him out last season. Thompson spoke with the media Tuesday and gushed about the growth he has seen from Poole, noting the 22-year-old reminds him of himself as a young NBA player.

"Well I've had a really close look at what Jordan has been doing the past couple years and Jordan came in as a rookie who had a crazy amount of energy, had a lot of sauce to his game and just needed to harness it a little bit," Thompson said. "To see his growth as a player, it's incredible. He is playing way above where he was picked at with [No. 26]. He's looking like he should have been a lotto pick. The man is an incredible offensive player, his defense is coming along and it makes me proud to see because he reminded me of myself when I was in my younger years. The way he would react emotionally to missing shots or having a bad game, I could tell it really bothered him.

"You like to see that as a vet because that means the guy really cares about his craft and to see those hours he -- he would have an off shooting night his rookie year and he would put up hundreds of shots after the game. That just shows you he wants to be great and I'm so proud of him. He's an incredible player."


Poole's hard work and dedication to his craft clearly are paying dividends.

After averaging just 8.8 points per game while shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from 3-point range during his rookie season, Poole has taken a massive leap in Year 3. In 17 games this season, the Michigan product is averaging 18.4 points per game while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from downtown.

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Poole has given the Warriors the scoring and playmaking threat they need alongside Steph Curry with Thompson still rehabbing.

When Thompson returns, Poole will shift back to the bench and lead a versatile and talented second unit that already is showing glimpses of its vast potential.

The Warriors needed Poole to elevate his game this season if they wanted to truly re-enter the title picture. He has answered the bell and then some for the 15-2 Warriors.

That Thompson sees himself in Poole is bad news for opponents who are struggling to slow down Curry and Poole this season, and have futilely tried to stop the Splash Brothers in years past. Thompson's praise and belief in Poole's greatness show the Warriors can be even deeper and more dangerous than previously believed.

Thompson has watched Poole's growth with pride from the sidelines, knowing the force he, Poole and Curry can be when made whole upon his return.

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