After losing Klay Thompson for a second straight season, a number of players will have to step up for the Warriors this season. Among those at the top of that list is Jordan Poole, who is entering his second season in the NBA.
Poole didn't exactly light the league on fire as a rookie last season. As the Warriors' first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Michigan product came into the league with high expectations. He averaged 8.8 points per game and shot just 27.9 percent from 3-point range.
To Poole's credit, it sounds like he has done everything right this offseason.
"Biggest thing with Jordan, he's had a great offseason," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Tuesday. "He's been our most consistent worker day in and day out. He's been at Chase working with our coaches. He's put the time and effort in. He's really earned a right to play and get his opportunity.
"I think he's earned some good fortune. I hope the basketball gods reward him accordingly because he's done everything possible to put himself in position to succeed."
Poole still is just 21 years old. While he didn't exactly have the season he hoped for during his first year, he did come on strong towards the end of his rookie campaign. From Feb. 5 to March 10, Poole averaged 14.3 points and 3.9 assists per game. That certainly gave Kerr optimism that Poole could take a leap forward in Year 2.
"I thought he played really well down the stretch last year," Kerr said.
Poole began playing more point guard last towards the end of last season, too. Though the Warriors signed backup point guard Brad Wanamaker and drafted point guard Nico Mannion in the second round, Kerr believes Poole can contribute at both guard positions.
"I think Jordan is a combo," Kerr said. "I don't think he's a pure point guard. I think he's a combo guard, a guy who can play on or off the ball. ... He fits the way we like, which is everybody's capable of making a play.
"The ball is going to move."
Poole, and the Warriors as a whole, are looking to prove their doubters wrong. And with Golden State's nine-month hiatus over, the young guard seems primed to do so.