Warriors’ competition to replace Klay Thompson seems to be decided
SAN FRANCISCO – Jordan Poole has impressed the Warriors enough in the first week and more of the preseason that he appears to have brought the starting shooting guard competition to an end.
“He’s playing so well it’s hard to imagine not keeping him there,” coach Steve Kerr said before Golden State hosted Denver in their second preseason game on Wednesday night. “For now, it will be at this starting point.”
Poole, 22, was a favorite to replace Klay Thompson as he continues to rehabilitate his right Achilles tendon, which should keep him out until at least December. The former first-round pick won high praise at the start of his third NBA season.
Poole lost 30 points on a personal best seven-point 3-point in the Warriors’ preseason opener Monday in Portland. He followed by getting another nod in the starting five next to Stephen Curry.
Poole and Curry were the Warriors’ most effective duo last season, Kerr said.
New assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has drawn Kerr’s attention to scans that build couple strength.
“We just like to feed off each other’s energy,” Poole said of his dynamic with Curry. “I think it’s important in the offensive pace and flow. As long as we bring together our camaraderie and chemistry, I feel like we can certainly be dangerous, that’s for sure. ”
General manager Bob Myers said the Warriors were counting on Poole to step into the offensive void left by Thompson.
“He worked on it. He deserved it, ”Myers said on the NBA Bay Area show. “We need this attack until Klay comes back. A lot of our struggles (last season) were offensive. Our defense, we think we can be good. But offensively, there were times when it wasn’t pretty last year. Steph was great, and we still haven’t done a great job. So Poole, he’s going to step into that void. It’s almost like we’re counting on it, certainly until Klay returns.
Kerr said Poole will play in the second half on Wednesday night. He was the first Warriors starter to return to the game.
The young keeper’s scoring ability was never questioned, but Kerr and his company wanted to see him progress defensively in his third professional season.
“I told him afterwards that while he was making his defensive efforts to improve, he gave up a few back cuts for layups (and) made a few rotational errors,” Kerr said after the game. Monday. “It’s just his next step to be a great player.”
Another player who is expected to play a key role in replacing Thompson has taken his leave.
Kerr and Andre Iguodala have determined that the 37-year-old will benefit more from the rest.
“He’s just old,” Kerr said. “I told him there was no reason for him to play five preseason games, so he’ll probably play three, I guess.”
Jordan Bell, who missed the game in Portland for personal reasons, was back with the team on Wednesday.