Is Jordan Poole ready to be number one?

Steph Curry’s injury gives us an opportunity to see Jordan Poole as the centerpiece of Golden State’s offense. Is he ready for this responsibility?

The cornerstone of the Golden State Warriors dynasty (one Stephen Curry) has missed the last seven games due to injury, but the team has managed to go 4-3 during that stretch.

Basketball is a team game, but this result cannot be attributed to the productive play of Jordan Poole, who averaged 27.6 points per game and 56.9 true shooting percentage during that time as the team’s main offensive option in Curry’s absence. get mixed up.

More interestingly, this isn’t the first time Poole has filled Curry’s void when he’s unavailable. In 27 regular-season games without Curry over the past two seasons, Poole has averaged 26.3 points per game on 58.5 true shooting percentage (above-average efficiency over the past two years).

Those numbers beg the question: Is Poole capable of being the number one option on his team full-time?

When we use the phrase “number one option” in the context of this discussion, we are talking about the offensive side of the field. In general, to become a full-time number one striker, you need to be fluent in two languages: scoring goals and setting up plays.

Can Jordan Poole make enough hoops?

Despite only being 23 years old, Poole is already one of the most complete goalscorers in the league.

On the ball, he can create an effective attack at all three levels. While his first step isn’t as deadly as Anthony Edwards’, he’s quick enough to get to the ring and finish at will.

If opponents impede his moves in the ring, he has no problem stopping and pulling up for a mid-range jumper. According to Cleaning the Glass, he ranks in the 74th percentile in positional efficiency on all mid-range attempts (short and long).

And while his 3-point percentage is down this year, his 86.6 percent conversion rate from the field goal line (a strong signal of a player’s ability as a shooter) suggests he should find his previous marks.

It’s no secret that the Warriors manage their moves in a similar fashion to Curry’s, putting him in perpetual screen position, wrapping and cutting until a precious opportunity presents itself.

Poole’s ability to score on and off the ball makes him a versatile weapon, as he can support weaker teams by taking possession and co-exist with more dominant second and third options by taking possession out wide.

Jordan Poole is therefore scoring as a first option, but can he pass as a first option?

A word of caution: scoring and passing are not entirely separate skills. On the contrary, these two disciplines often get mixed up.

A good scorer can give you an advantage over your playmakers because you constantly attract the attention of other defenders and allow you to exploit teammates who are not well protected. On the other hand, a bad scorer can hurt your point guard skills as teams will collapse on players, play in the passing lane and challenge them to beat them with their scorer.

Poole’s score is closer to the first description than the second. In addition to making the same plays as Curry, Poole draws the attention of the defense in the same way, usually with two defenders hitting him on the shot, resulting in easy bucks like this:

Apart from these simple passes, Poole can identify and execute more important passes. His dazzling maneuverability, snappy creativity and ability to get into the paint when he wants make him a terrific interior passer who can take over his teammates with a high completion percentage around the rim.

Transmission types are not a problem for him. Jordan Poole can make almost every pass possible (though I’d say he detects better than the open 3). The real flaw in his game creation is the sheer volume of his creation.

One stat we’ve intentionally left out until now is that Poole has averaged 5.0 assists per game in the 27 games he’s played without Curry over the past two seasons. The fact that he creates many chances for his teammates is not a great indicator.

A more nuanced stat for this type of analysis is Ben Taylor’s Box Creation, which measures the number of shots a player creates for teammates per 100 possessions, not just through his passes, but also his severity and ability to disrupt the defense. By the way, Poole’s Box Creation sits at 8.7. That’s solid build volume — which puts him in the same vein as Tyrese Maxey, Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell — but it’s a step down from true number one picks.

For example, Curry creates about 14.5 shots for his teammates per 100 possessions. While Curry is on a whole other level, other key guards such as Ja Morant, Darius Garland, Shai Giggleous Alexander and Jalen Brunson are also posting significantly higher ratings.

To become the number one full-time option, Poole will need to increase his creativity. However, thanks to his youthful vigor and all the skills we highlighted above, such development is not beyond the realm of possibility.

In fact, given how quickly Poole has progressed as an NBA player—from one of the worst players in the association, to Curry’s charming sidekick, to the man who could now temporarily step into his predecessor’s mantle as the dynasty’s big kahuna—it’s likely that he’ll eventually be the number one safe option on a full-fledged elite offensive machine. it would be wise to bet.

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