When the Golden State Warriors made a blockbuster move in trading Jordan Poole as part of a package for Chris Paul last month, some fans were left frustrated by the lack of value the franchise received for their talented young guard.
The optics of trading a 24-year-old for a 38-year-old veteran past his prime weren’t great, with many speculating why the Warriors couldn’t have been more patient in dealing Poole for a more valuable asset.
Recent comments from an Eastern Conference scout proves the Golden State Warriors did well to get out from the Jordan Poole contract.
Yet perhaps the franchise were simply desperate to get out of Poole’s declining value as a player — his new four year, $128 million contract, and a disastrous playoff campaign, were seen as the key factors behind the inability to garner greater value in return.
Now, the Miami Heat face a similar situation with a player Poole has long been compared to — Tyler Herro. Not that the Heat are desperate to move on from the 23-year-old guard, but more so that he’s seen as a centerpiece to any deal for wantaway Portland Trail Blazers’ star Damian Lillard.
The Blazers have been thus far unwilling to budge, with many assuming a third team that covet Herro would have to be involved for such a deal to go down. That however, may be easier said than done.
In a recent article for CBS Sports, Brad Botkin delves into “the rapidly diminishing value of one-way players”. Within it he spoke to an Eastern Conference scout who describes the changing nature of the NBA.
"“The league as a whole has become really skeptical of these one-way guys”, the scout said. “Everyone thinks in terms of the playoffs now. It used to be, if you could score 20 points, you were a dude. No questions asked. But now, if you have a weakness, if you can’t hold your own on the defensive end, unless you’re a franchise guy, you’re going to get played off the court.”"
This is the category players like Poole and Herro fall into. They’re immensely talented offensive players, but when they’re shot isn’t falling, what are they actually providing in terms of winning impact?
Poole was near-on unplayable by the end of the Warriors’ postseason — his offense was out of control and inefficient, while his defense has always been below average to put it nicely. In the East, Miami made it all the way to the NBA Finals despite the absence of Herro, perhaps their second-best offensive player who broke his hand in the first-round.
So, even if we park the playoff form and new contract to one side, the scout’s comments suggest Poole’s value has declined purely because of what the league is now prioritizing. If we take all elements — contract, form, team relationships, league priorities — into account, you can make the argument the Warriors did well simply to deal Poole when they did, even if the return was heavily criticized in the immediate aftermath.