The Washington Wizards will visit Chase Center on Friday night, marking Jordan Poole's first meeting against the Golden State Warriors since his unceremonious departure from the franchise during the offseason.
After a controversial and ultimately disappointing 2022-23 season with the Warriors, Poole was traded to the Wizards in a package for 38-year-old Chris Paul on draft day in June.
As Jordan Poole returns to face the Golden State Warriors, there's only one way his tenure at the franchise should be remembered
With Poole's imminent return, recollections of his Golden State career have become prominent in recent days. Unfortunately, his final year will always be forefront of mind -- when that's the last thing you see, it's easy to be the first thing you remember.
The 24-year-old's season began through no fault of his own, with the franchise rocked by Draymond Green's king hit on Poole during training camp. Video of the incident was made public soon after, essentially ending the Warrior season before it even started.
Despite averaging a career-high 20.4 points per game, Poole's play was often criticized for his careless ball-handling and shot-selection, along with his lackadaisical and flat out poor defensive efforts.
His play became even worse in the playoffs -- the franchise's decision to trade him was no doubt influenced by his 10.3 points per game on 34.1% shooting. Poole became virtually unplayable as the Warriors eventually went down in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second-round.
Yet despite all the frustration and turbulence of his final year, that's not what Poole's career at the franchise should be remembered for. Instead, it should be viewed as one of excitement, rapid improvement and most importantly, the ultimate success.
Poole developed from a 28th overall pick and a bad player in his rookie year, into a dynamic guard and key contributor to a championship team by the end of his third season. He had some extraordinary games and individual plays in the 2022 postseason, moments that should forever be remembered and cherished by everyone in and outside the franchise.
That postseason included 30, 29 and 27-point outings in the first three games of the first-round series against the Denver Nuggets. He had 31 and 27-point games in the second-round against the Memphis Grizzlies, then shot an incredibly efficient 63.6% in the Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Poole followed that with two of the most memorable buzzer-beaters in franchise history during the Warriors' triumph in the NBA Finals.
Last season will always be a chapter in Poole's story, it can't simply disappear. Yet at the same time, we should probably acknowledge the impact the Green punch actually had. Not only that, but Poole's play was often compared to that of the four-year, $128 million contract Golden State gave him before last season. It's important to remember he was on $3.9 million in 2022-23, and that the franchise never paid a dollar of his new deal.
Poole should receive a standing ovation when he returns on Friday night, anything less would be an inappropriate response to someone who brought so much joy and exhilaration, particularly in a 2021-22 season that will be fondly remembered as one of the best ever in franchise history.