Jordan Poole

JP reflects on Dubs tenure, eager to expand game with Wizards

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LAS VEGAS – Jordan Poole knows how to sidestep off the court, just as well as his moves on the hardwood. In the last year, the former Warriors guard has had plenty of practice, especially when it comes to questions about he and Draymond Green’s relationship.

On Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus, Poole again gracefully deflected questions regarding his former teammate while being introduced as a central figure to the Washington Wizards’ roster overhaul.

“We’re in Washington now,” Poole said. “Playing with [Kyle Kuzma] now, great duo. Being able to really flourish, expand your game. Like I said, it’s a new team with an entirely new group of guys. It’s a challenge that we’re up for.

“We have a new front office and a lot of people are invested. Everybody is locked in and wants to be here to start something we can have that should be special.”

The story has been told numerous times now, but it never will go away. It wasn’t just written about. Everybody now has seen Green punch Poole during a Warriors training camp practice. Poole soon after was given a four-year, $128 million contract extension by the Warriors. He and Green’s relationship never reached what it once was, the Warriors’ chemistry was doomed before the season even began and the reigning champions fell short in a second-round playoff exit against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then came a major change of scenery this offseason.

New Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. and the rest of the front office chose the present over the future, trading Poole to Wizards as a part of a package that brought back Chris Paul to San Francisco on the day of the 2023 NBA Draft. The opening minutes of free agency then saw Green and the Warriors agree to a four-year, $100 million contract to keep the 33-year-old in a Golden State jersey for at least another handful of seasons.

Poole, 24, certainly formed plenty of friendships and relationships in his four seasons as a member of the Warriors. The franchise’s biggest superstar is among that group. Steph Curry made sure to show his gratitude for Poole on Thursday night once the trade became official in a lengthy Instagram story, saying, among other messages, “I can’t wait to see you blossom, big fella.”

“Yeah, I talked to Steph prior to that,” Poole said. “He’s a leader of the team, and there’s just some things you have to do as a leader. Reached out and had the conversation.”

He acknowledged his relationships with Curry, Klay Thompson and others aren’t going anywhere. “If anything, I just know their plays,” Poole joked.

Taken No. 28 overall in the 2019 draft, Poole broke out in his third pro season and showed stretches of a future star. Poole in the Warriors’ 2021-22 championship campaign averaged 18.5 points, shot 36.4 percent on 3-pointers and led the entire league in free-throw percentage (92.5 percent). He was an integral part of the Warriors winning the title after a four-year drought and forever will have a ring to show for it.

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While his shooting numbers dropped and his turnovers increased, Poole also averaged 20.4 points as a 23-year-old last season and made a career-high 214 3-pointers.

“It was good, got a ring,” Poole said of his four seasons as a Warrior. “I was able to do some life-changing stuff and met a lot of amazing people. Being able just to learn what I did from there, apply it not only in real life but the basketball court is something I look forward to doing.”

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