2. Jordan Poole
When the Warriors traded Jordan Poole in a package for Chris Paul earlier this offseason, they did it not only for financial reasons, but because they genuinely believe it will give them an upgrade in the immediate short-term.
That could well prove true — replacing Poole’s often chaotic and reckless play from last season, with the calming and controlled nature of Paul, should boost the Warriors’ chances of championship success this season.
However, just like there’s things Paul will bring that Poole couldn’t, there’s also aspects that the Warriors will miss in the absence of the 24-year-old guard. For starters, despite his issues and deteriorating form during the playoffs, Poole still averaged a career-high 20.4 points during the regular season.
Paul won’t provide that level of individual scoring, immediately leaving a hole that Golden State will have to fill through a raft of avenues. While they may be able to do that, matching Poole’s remarkable durability won’t be as easy.
The Warriors’ veteran core had their hiccups last season, with Stephen Curry missing over 25 games and Andrew Wiggins over half the season. Poole was a safety valve for them — someone who never got injured, would never rest, and who subsequently played all 82 games as a result.
When Curry was out, Poole was at least capable of dropping 30+ and putting Golden State in the contest. He would average 26.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the two-time MVP’s absence, with the team going a steady 14-12 in those games.
While the Warriors may be better with having Paul instead of Poole, there’s little doubt there’ll be times where they miss the latter’s dynamic scoring and his general availability throughout the regular season.