Klay Thompson

Klay offers encouraging message to Poole amid their new bench roles

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Despite no longer being teammates, there’s still something Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole share in common in the basketball world: adjusting to recently assigned bench roles. 

Following the Warriors’ 123-112 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, Thompson, who is adapting to a career-defining Sixth Man role in coach Steve Kerr’s scheme, was asked by reporters in the locker room about Poole’s similar situation.

As expected, Thompson was in full support of his former teammate, with whom he won an NBA title. 

“He’s come off the bench before: 2022 playoffs,” Klay told reporters. “He can lean in on that experience. Jordan Poole; I love Jordan. I know he has great, great seasons ahead of him.” 

But how can that be, given the Wizard’s (9-49) precarious outlook and Poole averaging near-career low statistics over 56 games since Golden State traded him to Washington this past offseason?

To Thompson, who has had a rollercoaster season as well, the Wizards guard has time on his side.

“Obviously, they’re in more of a rebuilding mode, so I think there’s a lot more on his shoulders to carry the load every night,” Thompson added. “He’s got all the time in the world. 

“It’s just about staying consistent. He’ll get there. He’s still incredibly young. He’s 23.”

From playing a major role in the Warriors' 2022 NBA title run to being demoted to the bench halfway into his first, full season in the nation's capital, Poole arguably is one of the few NBA players this season to have experienced professional lows similar to Thompson's.

Yet despite the reduced role in one of the league's bottom teams this season, Poole is facing the challenging situation headstrong, similar to Thompson.

“I think we could do it a different way — I’ve expressed that," Poole said after the game (h/t The Washington Post's Ava Wallace). "I’m a professional. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll do.

"I’m always going to go out there and try my best to help us win. If this is the way we need to go about it in order for me to be on ball, I guess it is what it is.”

Although Poole understands that Golden State's position to fight for another title influences Kerr's decision regarding his guard.

“They’re in the hunt, so if that’s what you need to do in order to win a championship, I feel that,” Poole added.

Thompson's and Poole's team situations might be distinct, but personally, they're facing a similar battle.

The silver lining is that as friends and ex-teammates, they certainly still support one another.

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