Steph Curry, Steve Kerr’s advice to Jordan Poole with all eyes on him
Steph, Kerr share advice to Poole with Curry out originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
PHILADELPHIA — Replacement steph curryor trying to do his best impersonation of Warriors‘ two-time NBA MVP, is an impossible question that cannot be placed on one person’s shoulders. However, with Curry gone for the foreseeable future after sustain a left shoulder subluxation on Wednesday night in the third quarter of the Warriors’ loss to the Indiana Pacerseveryone’s attention will be focused on one player.
The 23-year-old turned heads last season when Curry went down during the final two weeks of the regular season. Poole did the heavy lifting offensively with Curry out and displayed plenty of confidence. That’s what Curry wants to see from his teammate more than anything.
“Be Jordan Poole, be himself,” Curry said Friday when asked what the key is for Poole as the veteran rehabs from his injury. “That stretch he had, he played efficient basketball. He was very much in control of what he was doing. That’s why people know who he is now, and that translated into him being a huge factor in us winning a championship last year. “.
“I know that he remains at a high levelWe talk about it all the time. You want to be more efficient, more consistent every night. No one needs to tell him that, apart from himself. It will be a great opportunity for him to rekindle who he really is and who we know he is and to help us win games.”
Including Curry’s regular season-ending game, Poole is averaging 26.0 points in the Warriors’ final 13 games of the 2021-22 campaign. In that span, Poole also dished out 5.9 assists and grabbed 4.8 rebounds per game, shooting 38.2 percent on 3-point shooting. During the month of March, he led the NBA in 3-pointers made with 56 3-pointers on a 44.4 percent clip from long range.
Poole also started in Curry’s place for the Warriors’ first five playoff games, with Curry coming off the bench as he got fitter. He scored 30 points in his playoff debut and followed that up with 29 points in Game 2 and 27 points in Game 3. Poole found himself in the history books, becoming the 16th player in NBA history to score at minus 25 points in each of their first three playoff games and the second Warrior to do so, along with Wilt Chamberlain.
That stretch at the end of the regular season, plus his many impressive playoff performances, are a big reason the Warriors gave Poole a contract extension worth up to $140 million this offseason. Once viewed as a preliminary pick, Poole became a franchise cornerstone for the present and future. However, the start of the season has not gone as expected.
While the Warriors have battled to 14-15 and 2-13 road records, Poole’s efficiency and consistency have taken a step back from last season. He is averaging a career-high 4.6 assists per game.
But in navigating his role as the Warriors’ Sixth Man, Poole’s 17.9 points is down from 18.5 a season ago, and his shot numbers are the worst since his ugly rookie year. Poole shot 44.8 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc last season.
This season, he is shooting 42.4 percent overall and 31.9 percent on 3-pointers. led the league free throw percentage last season, shooting 92.5 percent from the line. That number has also gone down. Although he’s shooting a career-high 3.7 free throws per game, his percentage is down to 86.1 percent.
“The biggest thing with Jordan that we’ve been trying to work with him on is just slowing down,” Steve Kerr said after Wednesday night’s loss. “He’s just in a hurry. He’s got so much ability, I think sometimes it’s the guys with the most ability when they’re young that make the most mistakes, because they’re trying to learn what they can and can’t do.” He is so talented, fast and cunning that he often gets into trouble just for being in a hurry.
“We are trying to slow him down and it will all come with experience. He is still a very young player.”
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The good news is that Poole’s scoring and numbers seem to be on the rise. In six of the Warriors’ last seven games, he has scored 20 or more points. The one game he didn’t play gave Golden State 18 points.
During that seven-game span, Poole also shot 44.3 percent from the field, 35.4 percent from 3-point range and 90.6 percent on free throws.
Control and playing the game at the right pace for Poole will be huge for him and the Warriors going forward. There is no solution to keep Steph on the sidelines.
Yet they’ve been here before, and Poole masterfully intervened in an impossible situation. Curry and Kerr are confident that he can do it again, as long as he doesn’t try to be someone else. Be Jordan Poole, one game at a time.