Warriors

Warriors' Jordan Poole hopes to make immediate impact in Golden State

Warriors' Jordan Poole hopes to make immediate impact in Golden State

OAKLAND -- The Warriors' newest first-round pick Jordan Poole found himself in rare circumstances Monday afternoon. 

With injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Poole became the first Golden State first-round pick in half a decade to join a team that wasn't a prohibitive title favorite. Particularly given the notable absences on Golden State's roster, Poole hopes to make an immediate impact in his rookie season. 

"It's an amazing organization, I'm just coming in and I know only so little about the entire situation," Poole said during his introductory press conference Monday. "Hopefully, we can find a way to bring everybody back."

Poole -- who the Warriors took 28th overall in last week's NBA draft -- joins Golden State as the franchise ponders its own uncertain future. In the next week, their two top free-agent targets -- Durant and Thompson -- will decide if they'll re-sign with the team. However, both will be expected to sit out most, if not all, of the 2019-20 season with major rehabilitation timetables. The absence of both players, who averaged nearly 47 points per game combined, will leave opportunities for Poole. 

Throughout his collegiate career, Poole proved to be a capable scorer. In his sophomore season at Michigan, he averaged 12.8 points per game, shooting a team-high 37 percent from 3-point range. With the Warriors, Poole believes he can help overcome Golden State's supplemental scoring woes.

"I wouldn't feel pressure," Poole said. "I feel like scoring is a strength of mine and it's something has gotten me to this level and it's upgraded me as an individual so I think that's another reason why they've wanted me here." 

"I have a really good opportunity obviously with Klay out ... but just coming in learning, whether it's in practice and summer league and being a sponge and taking everything in," Poole added. "The opportunity will present itself, but being able to feel like I can make an impact and if there's an opportunity I'm definitely going to try to take it."

Minutes into Poole's press conference, Warriors general manager Bob Myers pointed out the makeshift stage was just under Draymond Green's basket at the practice facility, then gestured across the way to point out Stephen Curry's post-practice basket. The message was simple: Work hard and you will be rewarded. 

“We’ll give you every chance to meet all of your goals and expectations. But most of it is going to be because of the work you put in,” Myers said. 

While a competent scorer, Poole's defense was maligned during his college career. With a habit of ball-watching and poor closeouts, Poole will need to follow a strict learning curve to get on the floor under head coach Steve Kerr. "I think that I know that personally and obviously everyone else knows that as well," Poole admitted. "But it's an improvement that I plan on making. I've made it from high school to freshman year to sophomore year. That just comes with time and physically and your body. I'm still learning my body but it's something I'm working on a lot. Being able to be a two-way player offensively and defensively."

The Warriors are doing their part to make sure Poole is groomed. Just after the rookie was drafted, Green texted Myers conveying his approval of the pick. A week later, Poole walked into Rakuten Performance Center to find that his locker was right next to the former Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, during the press conference, Poole cited Curry as a player he'd model his game after. In the coming months, it will be Curry, alongside Green, who will mentor the guard as he tries to make a mark in his rookie season.

[RELATED: No shortage of similarities between Draymond, Paschall]

"I think it's a huge compliment that I'm around some of the best offensive players, if not the best offensive players in the game," Poole said. "Night in, night out just practicing against Steph and Klay, being able to just find ways to challenge them and being able to have that experience in practice going throughout the season, it grows. So I think I'm just extremely blessed to be in the situation I'm in."

Klay Thompson proclaims Warriors' championship dynasty 'far from over'

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Klay Thompson proclaims Warriors' championship dynasty 'far from over'

All the national pundits and talking heads have danced on the grave of the Warriors' dynasty.

With Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston gone, and Klay Thompson out for a large portion of the upcoming season after ACL surgery, most believe the Warriors' reign of dominance is over.

But Thompson isn't listening to the noise. The Warriors might be down, but they aren't out.

"The dynasty ain't over," Klay said Friday during the second annual Thompson Family Foundation golf tournament in Newport Beach, Calif. "It's far from over."

After five season atop the NBA mountain, the Warriors no longer are the favorites to win the title, and they will look vastly different this season.

At the beginning of the season, Steph Curry and Draymond Green will be flanked by newcomers D'Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein. Instead of Durant at the starting small forward spot, Warriors coach Steve Kerr might go with Alfonzo McKinnie.

Super Death Lineup this is not.

Making matters tougher for the Warriors is the improvement of other teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers, Lakers, Jazz and Rockets all made blockbuster moves over the summer, while the Nuggets and Blazers return teams that were top-four playoff seeds in the West last season.

But once Thompson returns in February or March, the Warriors will be able to close games with a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Russell, Green and Kevon Looney, who signed a three-year contract in the offseason.

[RELATED: Eight things Warriors need to do to make playoffs]

As Green said last week, no one will want to face the Warriors in the playoffs. That will be especially true if Thompson is 100 percent in April.

Durant isn't around anymore, but the dynasty isn't dead until Curry, Thompson and Green say it is.

Magic Johnson can't believe Kevin Durant was unhappy with Warriors

Magic Johnson can't believe Kevin Durant was unhappy with Warriors

Kevin Durant came to the Warriors in 2016 in pursuit of a family and NBA titles.

Despite all the winning the Warriors did with Durant, he told the Wall Street Journal last week that he never quite felt like one of the guys. That possibly had something to do with him refusing to commit long term to the Warriors. It's hard for a family to accept you when you have one foot in the house and the other on the front porch.

NBA legend Magic Johnson can't begin to fathom Durant's logic in leaving for the Brooklyn Nets after three seasons and two championships in the Bay.

"KD, I hope that he finds happiness," Johnson said Friday on ESPN's First Take. "If you can't find happiness at Golden State, where are you going to find it at?

“First of all, give Steph Curry a lot of credit for saying, 'I'm a two-time MVP. I'm willing to take a backseat because I want to win.' Give Klay Thompson a lot of credit, because you know whose game suffered the most? Klay Thompson. He used to get a lot more touches before KD got there, and he said, 'I'm OK with that as long as we win a championship.' Draymond Green, even he had to take a backseat.

"So, Kevin, if you won back-to-back titles, you won MVP of the Finals as well, where are you going to find happiness at? I just want him to find happiness because when I look at Michael Jordan, when I look at Kobe Bryant, this brother, Kevin Durant, is one of the greatest scorers we've seen in NBA history, so I just want him to be happy. I just don't know where he's going to find it at if he can't find it at Golden State."

We imagine every single Warriors fan feels the same way as Magic does.

[RELATED: Durant shows no sign of limp after surgery]

Unlike Thunder fans, Warriors fans don't hold any ill will toward Durant. They're just puzzled by his decision to leave. He had everything he wanted in the Bay Area, and Golden State could have offered more money. Yet he still decided to leave.

But maybe Durant never will be happy in the same spot for too long. It's possible that in three years, Nets fans find themselves wondering why Durant wasn't happy, just like Warriors fans are right now.