Discover more from Dub Nation HQ
If Jordan Poole returns to form, the Lakers could be in serious trouble
Poole has a strong Game 1 against the Lakers but hasn't been able to duplicate that performance for much of this postseason.
I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Poole’s shot selection is something that has been discussed at many a Bay Area water cooler, perhaps even yours.
It’s certainly the first thing Ron (the security guard at my job) brings up the minute I saunter up to the entrance. It started during the regular season and continued through Poole’s current playoff run; Ron and I have developed something of a pattern to starting the morning. It starts with a gravelly “Bruh!” coming my way from the flabbergasted loss prevention professional; he strides over with his head shaking and his palms upturned in the universal body language for “WTF”.
I know what’s coming. He’s gonna immediately detail in frustration three or four of Poole’s wayward possessions from the night before, ending with the consistent caveat that “we need JP to get going!”.
Ron’s observations of Poole’s recent uncharacteristically inefficient play was solidified as L.A. gangsta rapper and certified OG Snoop Dogg humorously encouraged Poole to keep shooting bricks (graphical emphasis mine).
Before the momentous Game 7 against the Sacramento Kings last week, I mused about Dub Nation hoping for a great Poole game to overcome the Beam Team. Poole scored 8 points in 19 minutes on 3-of-9 shooting from the field with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block in the huge victory.
Over those seven games, Poole averaged 12 points, 3 assists, and a steal. He shot 33% from the field, and a un-Poole like 9-of-35 (25%) from beyond the arc. During the regular season he shot 43% from the field and 33% from 3PT range, averaging 20.4 points per game.
If we think back to his electric performances in last year’s playoffs, it’s easy to have high expectations of this young 23-year old player. He was a red-hot 50% from the field (39% from deep) in Golden State’s title run last postseason, scoring 17 points per game.
That’s why his slump is something the Dubs are well aware he can break out of at any moment, like he did when he scored 21 points in 30 minutes in Game 1 against the Lakers. He hit six threes and was so hot that his errant deep shot in the final seconds of the game was sparked spirited back-and-forth about whether it was a terrible shot or a perfectly understandable attempt.
So when he scuffled his way to a 5 point, 6 assist, 4 turnover performance in Game 3 with a chance to take a 2-1 lead in the series, it raised some more eyebrows in Dub Nation (and derision from Laker fans) about his shot selection and floor generalship.
Soooo as Poole has shown a high proficiency for scoring the ball in dazzling ways over his career, it can feel a bit jarring to watch possessions like these where he’s not able to impact the game the way we’re used to. These are the type of plays Ron will talk to me about on Monday morning: rushed deep bombs with hella time left on the shot clock…
Or slippery handles that defenses recently seem to be more than ready to take advantage of…
Maybe he was fouled here? With the way these referees is giving the Lakers every benefit of the doubt this series, I can’t trust anybody. Last night Anthony Davis turned into prime Jerome Bettis to send Draymond Green toppling over repeatedly and the refs called the foul on the sprawling Green?!
But I digress. What’s your take on Poole’s struggles to be more like himself? Is he just being better scouted by the opposition after his breakout year and big contract signing? Is he finding difficulty with his role toggling back-and-forth between starter and reserve?
Perhaps he’s just a regular human being going through some of the ebbs and flows of the game of basketball, and it’s only a matter of time before he puts up another Game 1 vs Lakers type performance. And there’s plenty of blame to go around to his teammates for hella turnovers and uneven defense, so let’s not make JP the capegoat here.
I’ve got a great feeling we’ll soon see Poole reverting to his normal, microwave hot scoring along with some daring playmaking that will put a ton of pressure on the Lakers to adjust.