NBA: Jordan Poole plays former Warriors team at Chase Center | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Jordan Poole plays former Warriors team at Chase Center

/ 12:20 PM December 23, 2023

Jordan Poole Wizards Warriors NBA

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, right, speaks to Washington Wizards guard Jordan Poole before an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 22, 2023, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

SAN FRANCISCO — Jordan Poole briefly lost the ball, retrieved it from one fan, then playfully threw a pass back to the sideline to get a few boys from Israel involved in his warmup routine.

They absolutely loved it.

Seemingly loose and light-hearted, and of course wearing his signature hoodie, Poole smiled as he made the rounds of hellos and hugs during his return to Chase Center on Friday night to face his former team.

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“Sticking to the plan,” Poole said while hustling back to the locker room after his pregame work before Washington’s matchup with Golden State, “that’s all you can do.”

The Warriors traded Poole to the Wizards for Chris Paul on draft day.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who has long praised Poole’s contributions and maturity during his growth into the professional game, couldn’t wait to see how Poole was received from the fans.

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“I think it will be a great night. I think Jordan will get a well-deserved reception from our fans that will reflect how much he meant to our team while he was here,” Kerr said. “So I’m excited for Jordan and it will be good to see him on a personal level as well. I know a lot of our guys are excited to see him.”

Part of the Warriors’ 2022 championship, Poole was saluted with a pregame video tribute. He was greeted with a warm ovation, then hit an 18-foot jumper from the left wing to start the game.

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Poole has made an immediate impression on the Wizards by staying late and arriving early to do his work — a tireless energy when it comes to his game.

Coach Wes Unseld Jr. calls him “a basketball junkie” who has had to adapt to a new environment. Poole came into Friday averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

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“I know it hasn’t shown up in the box score, his overall efficiency early in the year wasn’t great, but I think, once again, looking at the last handful of games it’s much improved,” Unseld said. “This is a very specific environment. The way they play, and him learning a new style, new coach, new teammates. And also, seeing different defenses he probably didn’t see here coming off the bench and being more of a reserve player.

“To his credit, it hasn’t changed his work ethic. He’s the first one in the gym, last one to leave. He’s a basketball junkie. Wants to be really good, puts in the time and the work, I think he’s starting to see the dividends of that.”

TAGS: Golden State Warriors, Jordan Poole, NBA

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