What happened to Poole’s Golden State days?
The Washington Wizards lost 101-140 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2023-2024 NBA regular season at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday (April 4).
The game was dominated by the Cavaliers throughout. The Cavs overwhelmed the Wizards with firepower, with three players scoring 20 or more points on the night, including Max Strouse (24), Donovan Mitchell (22), and Caris LeVert (21).
The Wizards got 16 points and two rebounds from Kyle Kuzma, but most of their players didn’t do much and the Wizards fell to Cleveland.
Jordan Poole’s performance was particularly bad. In 23 minutes of action, Poole finished with just eight points and two assists, and shot just 3-of-11 from the field. In other words, he had nothing to show for his time on the court. He also had the misfortune of being the focus of Mitchell’s offense throughout the game.
Poole was traded from the Golden State Warriors to the Washington Wizards ahead of this season. Wanting to challenge for a championship, Golden State opted for veteran Chris Paul over Poole after his disappointing performance last season.
This was partly due to talent, but also due to a scuffle between Draymond Green and Poole. The incident crossed an unbridgeable river, and Golden State chose Green.
While it’s unfair to Poole, it’s also an opportunity. Golden State has Steph Curry, and Poole will never be the ace in the hole. But on a rebuilding team like Washington, Poole can be the ace and the centerpiece.
Poole said something similarly nuanced in his Wizards interview. Poole was supposed to be the new face of the team alongside Kuzma.
The problem is, he’s underperformed this season. Poole is averaging 17 points and 3.7 assists per game. The problem is efficiency. Poole is shooting 41% from the field and 31.6% from three-point range. His scoring average is down, and so is his efficiency.
Surprisingly, his minutes have also dropped. Poole, who was expected to be given a lot of minutes as Washington’s ace, is averaging 29 minutes this season, down from 30 last season.
His weaknesses on defense remain. And the reckless shot selection and turnovers that have plagued Poole have remained in Washington. At this point, Poole is a player with no upside.
He was expected to make the leap from sixth man to ace in Golden State, but he hasn’t been as good as he was in Golden State.
Perhaps the most frustrating is Washington. The Wizards traded away their franchise star, Bradley Beal, and chose Poole as their new star. While the Wizards didn’t expect Beal to be a scoring machine, they did expect Poole to be better than he was in Golden State.
Poole’s four-year, $140 million deal with Golden State begins this season, meaning the Wizards will have to pay him a hefty salary for four seasons, including this one. If Poole’s struggles continue, his contract is expected to be the worst in the NBA. For the Wizards, it’s a violation of the first cornerstone of their rebuild.
It’s a frustrating situation for both Poole and the Wizards. The only solution is for Poole to bounce back. Let’s see if Poole can rebound for the rest of the season.