Warriors' rookie Jordan Poole not worried about recent shooting slump


Warriors' rookie Jordan Poole not worried about recent shooting slump

HOUSTON -- It's just after the first practice of his second road trip and Warriors rookie Jordan Poole isn't hearing any questions about his struggling jump shot. 

"I mean, I don't know how to answer that," Poole told NBC Sports Bay Area. "It's normal."

As of Friday, his shooting has been anything but ordinary. Entering, he's shooting just 26 percent through eight games, boasting just one game over 50 percent from the field. Worse, in a season marred by injuries, the rookie isn't afforded the opportunity to learn behind Golden State's all-star core. 

"I mean of course you want to see shots go in," Poole admitted. "But it's never come to the point where I was like, 'I'm going to stop shooting.' All you need is one, two, a couple to go in, one good game."

For the first month of the season, Poole has struggled to find an offensive rhythm, making just 23 of his first 89 shot attempts. In Wednesday's loss to Houston, he finished just 2-of-11 on the night. 

The output has shown little of what Golden State scouted in college. At Michigan, he averaged 12 points, shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc in his senior, showing a habit of taking any shot available. Two years ago, his game-winning 3-pointer sent the Wolverines to the Sweet 16.  

After getting drafted to Golden State, his confidence continued in the preseason. In the preseason-opening loss to the Lakers -- with his team down double digits -- Poole scored eight second-quarter points to help cut the Lakers' lead to eight, garnering praise from teammates and coaches alike. A week later, Poole finished with 19 points in a win over the Timberwolves, including three 3-pointers, giving a glimpse of his offensive potential. 

These days, as Poole tries to find his jumper, Golden State's roster remains in flux. In the last month, the Warriors have lost all-stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell to injuries. Since last week, the Warriors have been playing with just nine players on the active roster, including two players on two-way contracts, forcing Poole into more minutes, something his coach believes is leading to unintended consequences. 

"I think it's a blessing and a curse to be in the position Jordan's in because he's going to play no matter what," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We only have nine guys. Everyone's going to play. And so that's a blessing on the one hand. It's a curse in that he can be a little overwhelmed out there too." 

"And he's not quite seeing the pictures yet at both ends. He's got to be a step quicker, and that will all come." 

Less than 24 hours after Poole's latest poor shooting performance, he doesn't seem to fret his future. Ask him about his shooting and he's quick to bring up the Curry two-game stretch three years ago, when he followed up an 0-of-10 performance with a league record 13 3-pointers in a win over the Pelicans. 

"And that's the greatest shooter of all time," Poole said. "So if you miss shots, you miss shots. But then if you start thinking, 'well, the next shot, I'm not making shots so I'm going to stop shooting,' then that's when you get in a situation that is really hard to fight out of." 

[RELATED: Andrew Bogut explains beauty of current Warriors]

Walking out of the Houston gym, onto the plane for a three-hour trip north to Minnesota, Poole has a plan to get out of his current slump. 

"Doing that got me here," he said. "Why would I change?"

Warriors execs scout top 2020 NBA draft prospect James Wiseman up close


Warriors execs scout top 2020 NBA draft prospect James Wiseman up close

The Warriors likely will pick much higher than they've gotten used to in June's NBA draft. 

Golden State is a league-worst 2-9 this season, appearing like a lock to keep the top-20 protected 2020 first-round pick the Warriors sent to the Brooklyn Nets as part of the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade. The Warriors would have no shortage of options if they picked at -- or around -- the top of the draft, and their front office got an in-person glimpse at Memphis center James Wiseman on Tuesday night, according to The Athletic's John Hollinger. 

Wiseman, plagued by foul trouble early, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds as Memphis lost to Oregon on Tuesday night.

Wiseman will be one of, if not the best player available in the draft. The 7-foot freshman center averaged 22.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game entering Tuesday's game, and the 18-year-old has the upside to develop into something the Warriors have not had in the Steve Kerr era: A truly dominant big man.

[RELATED: Warriors' injury report still growing through trying season]

How much more Wiseman will play this season remains to be seen. The NCAA ruled Wiseman ineligible for taking $11,500 from current Memphis coach Penny Hardaway in order to help Wiseman's family move when he transferred to play for Memphis East, the high school Hardaway was coaching at the time. A Shelby County, Tenn. judge placed an immediate temporary restraining order on the college athletics governing body shortly after the NCAA's ruling. Plus, as SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell noted, Memphis has not ruled Wiseman ineligible and the Tigers plan to continue playing him. 

Myers' presence at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, as well as that of Harris and Dunleavy, suggests the Warriors are taking their new reality very seriously. Golden State will need the lottery balls to bounce its way, too, in order to select Wiseman, but the Warriors should have done their due diligence by then, at least. 

Warriors continue to ache from most detrimental injury list in NBA

Warriors continue to ache from most detrimental injury list in NBA

SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors left for Los Angeles on Tuesday shortly after posting an injury report that is the longest and surely the most roster-altering in the NBA. It runs seven deep and includes three starters, two of them All-Stars in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Asked if he’d ever seen anything like it, coach Steve Kerr replied with a single word.

“No,” he said. “I’m not going to expound it either.”

Six weeks removed from training camp, only four players – Ky Bowman, Marquese Chriss, Jordan Poole and Glenn Robinson III – have escaped the trainer’s room.

With five games over an eight-day span beginning Wednesday against the Lakers in LA, here is an alphabetical status update on each player:

Steph Curry

The two-time MVP and franchise focal point for the past seven seasons sustained a broken left hand on Oct. 30 and underwent hand surgery on Nov. 1, after which the Warriors announced he will be re-evaluated in three months. When Curry addressed the media on Monday, he was wearing a heavy protective sleeve that runs from his left hand to his forearm. He also disclosed that he will undergo a second operation in December to remove pins inserted in the original procedure.

Curry also was firm in announcing his intention to return sometime this season.

Timeline for clearance: Undetermined. Obviously not before February.

Jacob Evans III 

The 6-foot-4 guard in his second season, who was expected to be in the team’s rotation, has missed the last eight games with a left adductor strain.

“Jacob, from what I heard (Monday) talking with him directly and our training staff, is still at least a couple weeks away,” Kerr said.

Timeline for clearance: Undetermined. It likely will be at least a month before he returns, so around mid-December.

Kevon Looney

The 6-foot-9 center-forward, scheduled to be at least a part-time starter, has not played since opening night, after which he was diagnosed with neuropathy, a condition related to the nervous system. It’s treatable but not necessarily curable. The effects of his condition might be permanent.

“He’s working out every day, getting some good work in,” Kerr said.

Timeline for clearance: Undetermined. The Warriors would be delighted if he returns next month. Looney might always have some level of restriction.

Damion Lee

The two-way guard, in his second season in that role with the Warriors, was diagnosed Tuesday with a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand. He is one of four players that played in each of the team's first 10 games.

“We’re hoping it’s just a few weeks,” Kerr said Tuesday.

Timeline for clearance: Undetermined. Barring complications, the second week of December is a reasonable expectation.

Alen Smailagic 

The 19-year-old forward, drafted in the second round, sustained a right ankle sprain on the first day of training camp. He wore a boot for several weeks, but now is rehabbing.

“Smailagic told me he dunked today, which is a good sign,” Kerr said. “He was excited about that, so his ankle is improving.”

Timeline for clearance: He could be cleared for contact over the next 10 days and conceivably be available late during the Nov. 17-22 road trip.

Omari Spellman 

The versatile forward/center was playing well, particularly on offense, before spraining his left ankle last Saturday at Oklahoma City. He did not play Monday night and did not practice Tuesday. So, according to Kerr, Spellman is doubtful to play on Wednesday.

Timeline for clearance: Probably Friday against the Celtics. If not, he’ll go on the four-game road trip that begins Sunday at New Orleans.

[RELATED: Kerr explains Draymond's 'really bizarre' reality on Dubs]

Klay Thompson 

The five-time All-Star sustained a torn left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and underwent surgery on July 1. He is rehabilitating and occasionally engaging in light one-on-one shooting sessions.

Timeline for clearance: He’s expected to miss at least another four months. There is optimism he could return in March. It’s typical for a player to sit out at least eight months – or as much as a year – after such surgery.