Before Jordan Poole was hosting Poole parties and becoming the face of many viral memes, the Warriors guard was a rookie playing and living through the ups and downs of the NBA.
Some fans were fed up. Media was critical. But Golden State remained patient. It was a decision that paid off in the end for both sides -- literally -- when Poole cashed in a massive contract extension with the Warriors before the 2022-23 NBA season following a breakout year the season before, which ultimately led to the Warriors’ fourth title in eight seasons.
As Poole continues to prove people wrong, the doubters slowly emerge from their shadows and admit they were wrong. Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George happened to be one of them.
“I gotta shout out Jordan Poole because I didn’t see the vision from year one to year two,” George said on his podcast “Podcast P with Paul George”, which was uploaded on Wednesday. “And don’t hate me Jordan Poole, if you asked me after watching him the first year if he was going to be good, I would be like, ‘Nah, I don’t see it.’”
The Warriors selected Poole with the No. 28 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but the former Michigan star was joining a very different team versus the one that was fresh off a trip to the NBA Finals.
Kevin Durant left the Bay and joined the Brooklyn Nets, Klay Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 season after suffering a torn ACL and Steph Curry sat out all but five games with a hand injury.
During Poole’s rookie season, he averaged 8.8 points on 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 27.9 percent from deep, along with 2.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 22.4 minutes. He bounced between the G League and NBA while trying to find his identity with Golden State.
Three years later, after staying focused and continuing to put in the work, he’s not only found his identity -- but he’s fully embracing it.
Baby Steph Curry. Third Splash Bro.
“I guess you don’t have a choice but to learn and be a sponge and raise your game [when] you get to play with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson,” George said. “So when I [saw] him in year two, I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was literally like, ‘Damn, it’s three of them now.’”
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Curry, Thompson and Poole on the same team might have not been a problem a couple of years ago. Now, it’s the opposing defense’s worst nightmare.
Last October, Poole signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension with the Warriors. It’s a deal George believes Poole, who he referred to as “elite”, deserved.
“Yeah, every penny, every penny. He’s a star,” George added. “Golden State, their scouting is - ’cause [Jonathan] Kuminga is a dog. He’s going to be really good. Jordan Poole is already special.”
George will get a personal invite to the Poole Party on Wednesday when he and the Clippers host Poole and the Warriors at Crypto.com Arena.