Draymond Green has fervently advocated for Jordan Poole to earn the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, so it’s no surprise that the often vocal veteran jumped to his teammate’s defense again on Sunday.
Green spoke to reporters following practice, just two hours before the 2021-22 NBA Awards finalists were announced. Poole didn’t make the cut over Cleveland Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant and San Antonio Spurs’ Dejounte Murray.
It was no fault of Green’s, who has continued to sing Poole’s praises as the young guard turns into a star right before Dub Nation’s eyes.
And it’s no secret that when Green feels strongly about something, he’s going to speak out.
During a passionate, five-minute rant from the podium, the 32-year-old power forward argued that Poole is leaps and bounds above everyone else in the NBA when it comes to who has improved the most since last season.
From the way the third-year pro handles himself on the court to the adjustments he has made to his game, Green simply can’t understand how anyone could see it any other way.
“If Jordan Poole isn't the Most Improved Player, then the NBA really needs to relook at their process. Because you cannot find a guy on that list that has made a bigger improvement,” Green said. “I don't care. If he's not the Most Improved Player, then let's rename the award to … who we like the most, who we see as more electrifying, to who we see may have a bigger impact on our team.
Golden State Warriors
“That’s not the name of the award, that’s actually the Most Valuable Player, and so if we’re talking about the Most Improved Player, and if the award was voted on based upon its name, then it’s a no-brainer who’s the Most Improved Player.”
NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke sparked Green’s response when she reminded him of comments he made following the Warriors’ April 9 victory over the Spurs. Green had commended Poole for his journey to the G League last season, and he referred to the moment as a pivotal “fork in the road” for Poole's NBA career while advocating for the guard as most improved.
“And he actually goes [down to G League] and figures it out,” Green said on Sunday, recalling his earlier comments on Poole. “...I thought that was a beautiful thing. I thought that was a huge, huge sign of his maturity.”
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Poole has only continued to mature, following up his breakout regular season with a historic playoff debut. While Poole certainly is focused on the team’s postseason success rather than individual accolades, it has to feel nice to know that his teammates have his back.
“If we’re going off the name of the award, it’s Jordan Poole,” Green said. “If it's not Jordan Poole, then I'm starting a petition on Change.org to rename these awards, because this is just not accurate.”
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