'Proud vet' Klay says Poole's future is 'incredibly bright'

JP and Klay

Steve Kerr and Warriors veteran players have consistently said over the last few years that no one works harder than Jordan Poole.

They've repeatedly said Poole always is in the gym working on his craft, and all those hours are paying off for the third-year Warriors guard.

After a shaky rookie season in 2019-20, Poole began the 2020-21 season on a similar note. But a stint in the G League helped his confidence, and he has been a completely different player ever since.

The growth this season for Poole has been evident, as he is averaging 18.4 points in 17 games, and is shooting 45 percent from the field on 14.8 shots per game.

There is arguably no one who has had a better vantage point to see the work Poole has put in than Klay Thompson, who has been rehabbing for 29 months following a torn left ACL and a torn right Achilles.

The three-time NBA champion and five-time NBA All-Star acknowledged Poole's improvements Monday night.

Inserted into the starting lineup this season while Thompson finishes his recovery, Poole has thrived next to Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. He has been aggressive and confident with his shots, and that has helped the Warriors start 15-2 this season.

Ironically, Poole likely will be the player most impacted by Thompson's impending return. Once Thompson is back, Poole likely will lose his starting role and move the second unit, where he will become the primary scoring threat.

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Following the Warriors' win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, in which Poole scored a game-high 33 points and made eight 3-pointers, Kerr praised the growth of the former first-round draft pick as a shooter.

"Really high," Kerr said when asked about his confidence in Poole's shot. "He's worked so hard on it. I think the challenge this year is kind of the next step of his evolution, which is to figure out what's a good shot. Being aggressive but without forcing.

"I think the last few games he's got much better in terms of his shot selection. Just taking the ones that are there and not launching tough ones."

Poole is developing into a star in his third NBA season, and everyone is taking notice.

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