JP embracing ‘middle-child' role in Warriors' two-timeline plan


Jordan Poole is in a unique place on the Warriors' roster.

At 23 years old, Poole is a decade younger than the championship core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. But he's older than the rest of the roster that represents the Warriors' future in teammates Patrick Baldwin Jr., Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Ryan Rollins and James Wiseman, who are all 21 years old or younger.

Poole, forever Curry's top understudy, is embracing his role as a leader to the younger Warriors.

"I just try to give [younger teammates] any input or insight that I can, if I’ve been through it," Poole said Sunday night after the Warriors' 126-110 win over the Toronto Raptors. "At the same time I’m also still asking these older guys questions. I use the term ‘middle child,’ playing both ways, talking to older guys but also trying to rally the young guys and put us in a situation so that we can be successful in the future.

"I’m just an outlet whenever they want to talk or ask questions."

Perhaps no one knows the arduous path to becoming a contributing member of coach Steve Kerr's rotation as a youngster better than Poole.

The flashy guard spent significant time in the G League in 2020-21, his second season, playing 11 games with the Santa Cruz Warriors before finally finding his footing on an NBA court later that year.

Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, has endured a bumpy ride in the NBA this season. Early-season struggles prompted the Warriors to send the 21-year-old center back and forth to Santa Cruz. Having Poole as a resource for to help navigate that experience is invaluable.

"Just being similar in age, and being here for the last four years, and being under the organization and with these guys, I’m just an outlet if anybody wants to ask questions," Poole said.

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As the Warriors endure their stretch without their injured superstar Curry, Poole has stepped up. He dropped a career-high 43 points in Toronto on 14-of-23 shooting and dished out six assists as the Warriors won their first game this season without Curry on the floor.

Like Poole, the younger Warriors likely will be asked to do more without Curry. That wasn't the case Sunday night, as Moody played the most out of the team's 21-and-under club with 11 minutes, but when their number gets called, Poole will be there to help answer.

The middle child is often forgotten. That couldn't be further from the truth, however, when it comes to Poole and his crucial middle-man role on the Warriors' two-timeline plan.

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