Golden State Warriors: Can Jordan Poole remain effective when Klay Thompson returns?

Jordan Poole (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jordan Poole (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Exploring how the return of Klay Thompson will impact the Golden State Warriors and, specifically, Jordan Poole. 

It’s no secret that Jordan Poole has been one of the key factors for the Golden State Warriors this season. Each season, he continues to gain momentum and elevate his play. Poole has been starting in the backcourt alongside Stephen Curry and the two have become a monster duo with their lethal 3-point shooting.

While Poole is having a Most Improved-like season, the Warriors are still anticipating the return of Klay Thompson by the week of Christmas. Once Thompson finds his rhythm on the floor, he will more likely take Poole’s starting place as the shooting guard.

As Thompson has yet to play this season, the Warriors have been on a tear and have the best record in the NBA. They have continued to torch teams with their hot shooting while also being one of the top defensive teams in the league. With Golden State succeeding early in the year, it only gives anticipation that Thompson will make the team even better.

Thompson was an energy booster on both ends of the floor with his hot shooting and great on-ball defense. Although it will take him time to get the rust off his body, Thompson is expected to elevate the Warriors’ championship chances.

Meanwhile, with Thompson returning, where does that leave Poole? With him averaging 18.1 points on 45 percent shooting, his impact has been felt so far. How can head coach Steve Kerr continue to utilize him to the level that he is playing at currently? Despite Poole’s terrific shooting on the floor, many understand that he does not make the same impact as Thompson can on both ends of the floor. Once Thompson is ready to play, coach Kerr will need a few scenarios on how he can allow the two to co-exist together.

With Thompson standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing 215 lbs, coach Kerr can allow him to lock the small forward position while Poole remains at the shooting guard position. This beneficial part of the move is that the Warriors will continue to have hot shooting at the wing positions, alongside Thompson being able to defend some of the NBA’s elite small forwards. But the negative part is moving Andrew Wiggins to a bench role after his great start to the year.

Another scenario is allowing Poole to take over the sixth man role for the Warriors. With the way he scores the ball, he certainly can set the tone for the second unit. While Curry and Thompson are subbed out of the game, Golden State can look to Poole as the guy who puts the ball in the basket. It will help the Warriors continue the momentum and keep the offense flowing. It may be a sacrifice for Poole due to his great play as a starter but he will hopefully still make the same impact as the sixth man role.

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It’s going to be a difficult task to insert Klay Thompson back into the rotation considering how well others are playing for Golden State. But he brings the championship identity that he helped build for the three championships the team has won. With Klay coming back, hopefully, Jordan Poole does not lose his rhythm as an elite player. It may be rough in the beginning but Poole can continue to make the same impact as he and Klay find a way to co-exist.