Warriors

Warriors season review: Jordan Poole's improvement should be encouraging

Warriors season review: Jordan Poole's improvement should be encouraging

Editor's note: Amid the current climate, it's looking increasingly likely we'll be away from basketball for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, NBC Sports Bay Area will take a look at each player on the Warriors' roster and examine how their performance will fit with the roster long term. First up is rookie guard Jordan Poole.
 
In need of scoring, the Warriors used the No. 28 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to select Jordan Poole, who was expected to make an impact right away. Those hopes didn't come to fruition early on, as Poole struggled from the field.
 
Here's everything you need to know about the Michigan product's rookie season with Golden State.

Contract

2 years / $4,028,040 (with options for the 2021-22, 2022-23 seasons). 

Last season

Poole's rookie campaign started slow. Through his first 19 games, he shot just 27 percent from the field. Poole's struggles came as he was put into the starting lineup following Steph Curry's hand injury. During his initial stint as a starter, Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted that the rookie was losing confidence. 
 
As a result, Poole was banished to the G League, averaging 26 points on 46 percent from the field. Nonetheless, any question about his struggles would elicit the same response.
 
Poole's defiance paid off following the All-Star break as the rookie routinely put together double-digit scoring outputs. Over his last nine games, he averaged 14.1 points, including a 17-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers in what might be the season finale.

In all, he showed signs of progress following a disappointing start to his rookie season, which should bode well whenever the Warriors return to the floor. 

Outlook

In order to build on his late-season performance, Poole will have to improve his defense and strength. Moreover, he has to continue to change his mindset. 

[RELATED: NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Predicting Warriors' top pick]
 
Just before his G League stint, Kerr encouraged his rookie to watch film of Clippers guard Landry Shamet and Pelicans shooting guard J.J. Redick. The sentiment behind the message was to encourage Poole to snap out of his habit of standing around in Golden State's motion offense. During the onset of the season, Poole's stagnant off-ball mindset frustrated the coaching staff. 
 
Upon return, Poole took heed to Kerr's message, often leading the offensive attack as injuries mounted again. If he can continue his current trajectory, he has a chance to be a contributor next season. 

Steph Curry, Steve Kerr among sports stars outraged by George Floyd death

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Steph Curry, Steve Kerr among sports stars outraged by George Floyd death

Face pressed to the street and eyes wide with panic, George Floyd was in handcuffs and begging for mercy. He feared he might die. His only hope was appealing to the humanity of the man threatening his life.

Humanity was denied by Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer whose left knee was resting on Floyd’s neck.

Even with cell phones recording video, Chauvin didn’t flinch. He didn’t back off until Floyd’s pleas went silent and he was unconscious. Moments later, he was dead.

Floyd had been subdued. Was not a threat. Yet he was subjected to further violence. So brazenly egregious was the brutality that visibly shaken Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey needed only a few hours to oversee the dismissal of Chauvin and three complicit officers.

The video is a graphic illustration of police terror in plain sight. It’s an example of the behavior that inspired former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel in peaceful protest. If the reaction of high-profile sports figures is any indication at all, Floyd’s death could prompt high-profile dissent to become louder and more visible.

Consider this Instagram post from Warriors superstar Steph Curry.

“If this image doesn’t disturb you and piss you off, then [I don’t know]," Curry wrote. "I’ve seen a lot of people speak up and try to articulate how fed up and angry they are. All good and well, but it’s the same same same reality we live in. George Floyd. George Floyd. George has a family. George didn’t deserve to die. George pleaded for help and was just straight up ignored, which speaks loud and clear that his black life didn’t matter. George was murdered. George wasn’t human to that cop that slowly and purposefully took his life away."

Curry’s former Warriors teammate, Matt Barnes, replied on IG, saying, “Haven’t seen it said any better than my lil bro put it!!”

The Floyd tragedy, coming three weeks after the release of incriminating video of the vigilante shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, is but the latest reminder of America’s inability to forcefully and effectively address systemic racism.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, upon seeing the video, offered a response with broad implications on Twitter.

Us. As in those of us who condone such conduct. As in those of us in positions of authority, such as President Donald Trump. There is zero chance of reducing state-sanctioned murder without cooperation from those of us within in a power structure dominated by white men.

“This goes to something very deep in our nation’s soul,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. “There’s definitely a responsibility of white people to stand up and say, ‘This is wrong.’ But we also have a responsibility in this country to reconcile our sins. That needs to happen.

“Sometimes I hear people say, ‘What are you complaining about? Slavery was abolished 150 years ago.’ They’re missing the point. We haven’t come to grips with it. If we had, we wouldn’t still see Confederate flags flying around, whether it’s at courthouses or at Trump rallies. I know some of those have been taken down over the past few years, but I feel there’s never truly been reconciliation with the sins of our past.”

Any decent history book reveals the United States was built on violence and suppression. Native Americans were massacred, their land seized. Slaves, most brought over from Africa, were treated as property to be punished or killed without a blink.

More than 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, blatant racial discrimination, most often symbolized by Jim Crow laws, still was the norm in the United States. Now, 56 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, racism continues. In three-plus years under Trump, there has been a resurgence in demonstrations of outright bigotry.

“I wish we had more outrage from the top,” Kerr said. “But it seems like it’s just the citizens who are expressing the most frustration.”

[RELATED: Stephen Jackson emotional over his friend's death in police custody]

The highest offices in the land have exhibited no sustained, committed desire to take healing action. But some of the citizens, black and white, have a voice that carries further than others. And they are expressing outrage at the consistency of such incidents.

Curry and Kerr are repulsed that such a small privilege as life, much less liberty, still can be revoked based on skin color. So are Stephen Jackson and Kyle Korver. So are LeBron James and retired NFL star Chris Long and former WNBA star Lisa Leslie. They all see what Kaepernick saw.

In the end, Americans of every stripe must ask themselves a simple question: How much more barbarism are we willing to tolerate?

Kendrick Perkins claims he doesn't hate Steph Curry despite recent takes

Kendrick Perkins claims he doesn't hate Steph Curry despite recent takes

Kendrick Perkins just wants to set the record straight as it pertains to Steph Curry.

Sure the former NBA big man has said James Harden is a better player than Curry, left the Warriors off his best teams of all-time list and got into an NBA Finals beef with the Warriors star during the 2018 NBA Finals. But Perkins wants everyone to know that he doesn't hate the two-time MVP as many assume.

"Let me explain it to the light-skinned brothers over there, the Splash Brothers," Perkins said Wednesday on Hoop Streams. "People think that I hate Steph and I don't. Like I really don't hate Steph. I admire him. Listen, Steph Curry is one of one, he's a generational talent. He changed the game. Like I said, he brought the waterworks. He brought Sea World to the game. I am giving Steph Curry his flowers."

It seems Perkins figured out you can only trash one of the all-time greats so much before people start lighting your Twitter mentions on fire and calling you out for being a hot take artist.

This isn't enough to make anyone believe Perkins doesn't have some animosity toward Curry, but at least he's willing to recognize the Warriors star's obvious greatness.

[RELATED: What Steph must do to finish career as top-10 all-time player]

However, this isn't the first time Perkins has given Curry credit. He gushed about his performance in the 2015 NBA Finals and has him ranked as his top "hybrid" of all-time over Harden (go figure).

It seems Perkins just can't decide which side of the fence to stand on when it comes to Curry even though the correct side couldn't be more obvious.

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