No other Warriors player has opened more eyes than Jordan Poole this preseason. The third-year pro did so again Tuesday night in the Warriors' 111-99 win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Poole led the Warriors with 18 points, something he has done on a regular basis this preseason.
"He's just worked really hard and got a lot of confidence," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the win.
Kerr has repeatedly praised Poole's work ethic over the last two offseasons. The results were seen in spurts last season, and now he really has flashed his offensive arsenal ahead of the upcoming regular season.
Now, Kerr and Co. are challenging him on the other side of the ball.
"The thing we're trying to press upon him now is his defense," Kerr said. "It's gonna determine everything. His first-half defense was really poor. In transition he wasn't hustling back, wasn't playing with any physicality.
"Started the third quarter the same way and we kind of jumped him a little bit and he really turned it on. So, it was good to see him turn it on. ... The defense has to pick up."
While Poole led the Warriors in scoring, he finished the game as a minus-1 in plus-minus. He was the only Warriors starter to not have a positive plus-minus.
Poole is expected to serve as the Warriors' starting shooting guard as Klay Thompson continues to rehab his torch Achilles. He certainly can inject offense as Thompson can, but his defense is nothing compared to the Splash Brother.
That's what makes Klay so great. Just like he can change a game from beyond the arc, he can do the same by being a defensive stopper.
The Warriors have to be happy with Poole. Now, they need him to be more than just an offensive spark.