The Golden State Warriors took a big swing this offseason by turning Jordan Poole into Chris Paul. While there are plenty of questions about how Paul will fit into the team’s ecosystem, Poole’s departure marks the end of an up-and-down tenure with the Warriors. Some of his highs as a dynamic offensive option made him look like a natural fit in the team’s backcourt, but when things went off the rails for Poole, he struggled mightily. And off the court, there was his highly-publicized practice incident before last season with Draymond Green which ended with Green punching him.
Considering that the Warriors viewed Poole as a core member of their roster going forward and gave him a monster extension last offseason, it was pretty stunning to see him jettisoned to the Wizards for Paul. And on the most recent episode of The Old Man and the Three podcast, J.J. Redick and Poole’s former teammate with Golden State, Andre Iguodala, discussed what made his situation so unique.
.@andre gives his honest thoughts on Jordan Poole's situation when he was on the Warriors.
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) September 21, 2023
Redick laid out how part of what makes the Warriors so unique is that the three players they have built things around in recent years — Steph Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson — are given the freedom to do what they believe to be best. He then moved on to Poole, and mentioned that while he wasn’t trying to knock the young guard, he believed that Poole had to be told he couldn’t necessarily have that same level of freedom.
“Bingo,” Iguodala said.
Redick discussed how the specific Warriors ecosystem made Poole’s role with the team tricky before Iguodala dove into some specifics.
“It was a hindrance to Jordan Poole,” Iguodala said. “Because Jordan’s like, why can’t I go out there and be free like them? Yeah, he doesn’t have four rings, he has one, and he won us a game in the Finals, he did do that. Game 5.
“And so, he’s coming back like, no, I’ve shown y’all that, give me some freedom,” Iguodala continued. “And I’m second on the team in scoring. He was second on the team in scoring. So, why should I be the guy…”
“…that has to dial it back,” Redick interjected.
“Like, all those emotions,” Iguodala said. “He’s a real human being, so he’s like, nah, I’m doing what I do, I’ve been sacrificing.”
Iguodala then got into how he was close with Poole, and how he would joke around with Poole about how he’d “fall on purpose” to “not play defense.” He’d go as far as to say that there would be times where “it looks like you’re trying not to try” and how that takes more energy than just exerting the normal amount of effort.
Poole began his NBA career with the Warriors, which selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.