The Golden State Warriors were down four key rotational players (Draymond Green, James Wiseman, Otto Porter Jr., and Andre Iguodala) as they welcomed the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks are currently No. 2 in the Eastern Conference. The reigning champions put up 109 points, but it wasn’t quite good enough as the Warriors were unstoppable, blasting the Bucks with 122.
Steve Kerr started Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole for the first time since January 16, and the Warriors dominated behind 68 points from the two guards.
The Warriors’ main two scorers were not the traditional splash brothers, but rather Klay Thompson and third-year guard Jordan Poole.
There were some questions when the Warriors added D’Angelo Russell in 2020 on whether or not when Thompson returned if the Dubs would play him at the 3. Back then, it seemed like the trio would be magical together, but it was the wrong guard paired with the five-time All-Star.
Poole, who has ascended into stardom this season, has been typically coming off the bench when Thompson is in the lineup and often keeps that role even with Thompson sitting. It was the first time the two have started together since January 16 which was Thompson’s 4th game back.
The duo paid dividends for Kerr against a surging Milwaukee squad that is at near-full strength, and it might be starting five he continues with, potentially putting Andrew Wiggins on the second unit instead of Poole once Draymond Green returns.
Poole dropped 30 on the Bucks, hitting 5 of his 10 threes and all 7 of his free throws. Thompson, on the other hand, poured in a game-high 38 points. This was done while two-time MVP Stephen Curry scored just 8.
To repeat and summarize, the Warriors beat the reigning champions and Curry had 8 points. That’s not a sentence I really envisioned writing this season, but the duo of Poole and Thompson has the potential to be that good as the floor spacing and decision-making are incredibly high.
We knew Thompson was capable of going off, although this was easily his best game since returning in early 2022. We now know Poole can do alongside him as many didn’t expect a three-guard starting five to thrive in Golden State.
Poole’s ceiling is why Kerr has been pushing the young guard so hard.
The Warriors are going to have decisions to make, and with Green’s return date set for Monday against the Wizards, we’ll quickly see if Kerr opts to stay with Poole in the starting lineup.
Sure, there are a ton of factors that play into Poole’s usage, but he has 10 games of scoring 25 or more and only 1 of those is when he came off the bench. Poole and Thompson are forming an elite duo, and if Curry can get hot as well, it could be the best five-man offensive unit in the NBA.
Their ceiling together is that high, and it’s a situation Kerr should look to continue instead of forcing Poole back to the second unit.