The second-year guard is going to get some extended run in the G League.
The G League season is starting a few days, and they’re thankfully taking a page out of the 2019-20 NBA season’s book: they’re playing in a bubble.
It’s still a little bit unclear how it will work to move players between the G League bubble and the NBA games, but it’s safe to say that any players who are in the bubble probably won’t be spending much time with the varsity team.
The Golden State Warriors are sending three players to the bubble: Nico Mannion, Alen Smailagić, and Jordan Poole.
Mannion and Smailagić are no-brainers. Poole? That one’s a little bit more interesting. Here are three ways he can benefit from some run with the Santa Cruz Sea Dubs.
There’s no replacement for experience
Poole got some decent run on last year’s horrific team, but he’s still a baby in terms of NBA experience. He’s played a mere 1,391 minutes in his career, which is the equivalent of playing 34 minutes a night for half a season.
As we see every year with rookies, there’s simply no replacement for time spent with the sneakers on the court, playing basketball games.
Poole will play in every game while with Santa Cruz — there will be no DNPs. He’ll start every game. He’ll play heavy minutes. And just that act of playing, repeatedly, should reap big rewards.
Gain confidence in the system
The Warriors are known for running the same sets and systems in the G League as at in the NBA, for this exact reason: to make sure the pipeline is adequately prepared.
Poole is still a little rusty in the Dubs motion offense, in large part because he plays sporadic minutes in an undefined role. He’ll get to iron out those wrinkles in the bubble, and hopefully get to the point where the system becomes second nature.
Grow as an off ball weapon
Poole’s playmaking has been his greatest skill since debuting, but if he wants to have a role on the Warriors for years to come, then he needs to become a weapon as an off ball shooter. He’s pretty low on the Warriors pecking order, so we don’t see him get fed too much when coming off screens for threes.
He’ll be an offensive focal point with Santa Cruz, and he’ll get to try all the things Steph Curry and Klay Thompson do: run through stagger screens, pop out off of pin downs, and bust through elevators. If he can prove to be a dynamic scorer when working off the ball, he could have a long Warriors tenure.
Until Poole departs for the G League, we’ll get to see him keep playing with the Dubs. And whenever he returns to Golden State, it will hopefully be as a greatly improved player.