The excellent preseason play of Jordan Poole helped the Golden State Warriors justify the waiving of forward Alfonzo McKinnie.
The Golden State Warriors had high expectations for Alfonzo McKinnie at the beginning of last season. While he played a solid season for a player consistently in the G-League, McKinnie faltered when it mattered the most.
The second-year guard shot around 30% from deep in the Finals with Kevin Durant out and the Dubs in desperate need of offense. They needed more from the young forward trying to find his NBA home.
The two things that really sunk McKinnie’s chances to return were the fact that he was the Golden State Warriors’ only non-guaranteed contract and the eruption of first-round draft pick, Jordan Poole.
Poole is a shooting guard from the University of Michigan. Many considered him a reach, even as a late first-round pick.
However, Poole, outside of a few relatively inefficient games, played excellently this preseason. With the Warriors now thin at small forward after McKinnie’s release, the team had to be confident in giving Poole regular-season minutes.
Through the team’s first four preseason games, Poole averaged 14.5 points and 2.8 threes per game. He’ll certainly need to improve his efficiency, but if he can hold those numbers consistent during the regular season, Steve Kerr will give him minutes.
Kerr has to be comfortable with Poole. The team’s main backup shooting guard, Alec Burks, who has yet to play this preseason, will be forced to play behind Glenn Robinson III, the team’s starting small forward.
Burks wasn’t originally a three, but the Warriors depth issues will force the coaching staff’s hand.
However, with Damion Lee as the only other real shooting guard on the roster aside from Poole, the rookie will likely get the bulk of the backup two-guard minutes. Also, on a two-way deal, Lee can only be on the Golden State Warriors for 45 days.
The confidence Kerr and the staff have in Poole allowed them to easily cut McKinnie and transition the 6-foot-6 Burks to the three.