Wizards’ Jordan Poole ready for anticipated return to Golden State

Dec 22, 2023, 8:11 AM | Updated: 8:14 am

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jordan Poole and the Washington Wizards will attempt to double their pleasure — in more ways than one — when they face the Golden State Warriors on Friday night in San Francisco.

Washington hopes to wrap up its four-game Western swing with back-to-back wins.

Poole had just a modest contribution with 13 points and six assists, but teammates Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones came up big with a combined 56 points in an exhausting 118-117 triumph over the host Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

The win, which came after trip-opening losses at Phoenix and Sacramento, came one night before Poole’s highly anticipated return to Golden State. Poole played his first four seasons with the Warriors and helped the team capture the 2022 NBA championship.

More on former Warriors guard Jordan Poole

However, last season was a disappointment for Poole, who was punched by then-teammate Draymond Green in a preseason incident and then yo-yoed between the starting lineup and the bench. He ended the year shooting just 43.0 percent overall and 33.6 percent on 3-point attempts.

In the end, he was chief among the scapegoats for a season in which the defending champs didn’t get out of the second round of the playoffs, and he was subsequently dealt to the Wizards with two others and two draft picks for veteran Chris Paul.

Asked frequently about his upcoming reunion, Poole has insisted, “I haven’t put too much thought into it.”

This week, he tried to put a positive spin on a night when Warriors fans figure to have mixed reactions.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to go back and play somewhere where I used to play,” he said. “So yeah, kind of just going in, and it should be cool.”

YouTube video

Some projected Poole, who averaged 20.4 points per game last season despite his relatively low shooting percentages, would thrive in a low-pressure situation in Washington. It hasn’t worked out that way. He actually is shooting worse this season — 41.2 percent overall and 31.7 percent on 3-point tries — and his scoring average has dipped to 17.2.

Warriors fans who applaud Poole’s introduction Friday likely will be recalling his contribution to the club’s 2022 title. He had big games early in series wins over the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies before becoming a lesser contributor to triumphs over the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals and the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Golden State veteran Klay Thompson knows how he would respond if he were in the stands on Friday.

“We would not have won a championship in ’22 without him,” Thompson said. “Simple as that. So I hope Dub Nation shows him the right ovation.”

Paul has fit in well with Golden State’s second unit — something with which Poole struggled — in his first two months as a Warrior. He is averaging just 8.5 points per game, but with better numbers to date than Poole had last season in assists (7.6 to 4.5) and turnovers (1.3 to 3.1).

Paul saved a 132-126 Warriors overtime win over the Celtics on Tuesday. He grabbed a Stephen Curry miss with 13 seconds remaining in the extra session, and with the shot clock close to expiring, got the ball back to Curry for a game-clinching 3-pointer.

The win was the Warriors’ third in a row.

–Field Level Media



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