The big question for the Golden State Warriors heading into the season was how close to his old self Klay Thompson would be when he eventually returned from consecutive major surgeries. Little did we know that three games into the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, the team's leading scorer wouldn't be Thompson, or even Stephen Curry. It would be Jordan Poole, a guy who played 11 games in the G League last season.
In the first three playoff games of his career, Poole has averaged 28.7 points while helping the Warriors to a 3-0 series lead over the Denver Nuggets. Pretty much everyone associated with the organization has commented on Poole's recent ascent to stardom, but after Thursday's 118-113 Game 3 win over Denver, veteran Draymond Green gave his young teammate some of the highest praise possible.
In an on-court interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, Green said that Poole has been the team's "No. 1 option" so far in the playoffs. That's pretty incredible, considering Poole shares the court with Curry and Thompson, arguably the two greatest shooters of all time.
"You're talking a guy who was on the third team All-G League last year, has been our No. 1 option in this playoffs," Green said after the Game 3 win. "The way he's playing, he's gained the trust of everyone on the team, he's gained the trust of coach Kerr, and he's gained fear from everybody else."
Draymond says Poole has been the Dubs’ “No. 1 option" in the playoffs 😮😤 pic.twitter.com/mWEQ4GHRJ4— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 22, 2022
Before you take this as a perceived slight against Curry, remember that he's only played 25 minutes per game coming off of a foot injury that kept him out of the final 12 games of the regular season. Curry's been spectacular, averaging nearly 26 points in those 25 minutes per game, but Green is right that the majority of the time, Poole has been Golden State's primary playmaker.
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Poole isn't just scoring -- his efficiency is off the charts. He's shooting 68 percent from the field, including 59 percent on over seven 3-point attempts per game. He's also been creating for teammates, averaging 4.7 assists per game. With his breakout performance, Poole has become just the second Warrior to score at least 25 points in his first three playoff games. The other one? Wilt Chamberlain.
Poole's spectacular play has considerably raised the Warriors' championship ceiling and created one of the most formidable closing lineups in the NBA. Assuming he can continue his offensive assault, Golden State is as dangerous as any offense in the league.
"I don't remember a better start for a playoff debut for a guard. It's incredible what Jordan's doing," Thompson said after Game 3. "We need him to go where we want to go, and we need him to keep doing what he's doing."