Released from a backup role behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the ceiling of former Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole will be one of the most interesting storylines across the NBA this season.
After seemingly committing to Poole on a four-year, $128 million contract last preseason, the Warriors traded the 24-year-old for Chris Paul in a blockbuster trade in June. The move will undoubtedly be analyzed for years to come, with Poole now holding the keys to the Washington Wizards offense.
Did the Golden State Warriors give up a potential future MVP in trading away Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards this offseason?
Speaking recently on Showtime Basketball, NBA legend Kevin Garnett compared Poole’s move to the Wizards to that of a former MVP who departed his originally team three years into his career.
"“Jordan Poole is the new James Harden,” Garnett said. “Y’all remember when James Harden left OKC and got to Houston? Man, this the Jordan Poole show.”"
After failing to agree on an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets where he ultimately developed into one of the league’s best players. He averaged over 25 points in each of his eight full seasons in Houston, winning NBA MVP in 2018 and finishing second on three seperate occasions.
Asked about the comparison by Monumental Sports Network’s Chase Hughes, Poole labelled Garnett’s comments ‘fire’ and ‘dope’ while adding perhaps a slight backhander to the Warriors organization.
"“The team was behind him, the organization was behind him, the coaches were behind him, Poole said in reference to Harden. That gave him the trust and the confidence to go be him and be himself. That’s what is going on over here.”"
Poole exploded for 41 points in 27 minutes during the Wizards preseason victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday. That included six threes, 16 trips to the free-throw line (of which he made 15) and 29 points in 16 first-half minutes.
While Poole’s numbers will almost assuredly rise with the extra opportunity in Washington, the prospect of him ever reaching an MVP-level like Harden has to be considered incredibly unlikely. Regardless, his number one priority will surely be bringing a championship to the Wizards, something Harden was ultimately unable to do for the Rockets.