Golden State Warriors rising star Jordan Poole poured in a season-high 36 points Monday after getting the starting nod with Klay Thompson resting. Naturally, Steve Kerr was asked if he had plans to make the third-year swingman a permanent starter. However, the Warriors coach shot down the question immediately.
Disappointing bench play
The Golden State Warriors have been largely disappointing early into the 2022-23 campaign. A defending champion bringing back many of its core players is not expected to lose seven of its first 10 games. Fortunately, winning three of their next four contests allowed Golden State to rise a bit in the standings. Still, the Warriors have a lot to work on.
As Kerr mentioned, the starting lineup is not to blame because the combination of Steph Curry, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney has been outscoring opponents by 27.4 points per 100 possessions.
Finding the right combination of players when at least one of the starters is resting is at the top of the coaching staff's priority. Of course, if Poole can also play lights out as a reserve like he did last playoffs, that can surely give Golden State a boost.
Poole's struggles as a reserve
Some Warriors fans are dismayed about the 23-year-old's performance so far this season. After all, it was only a month ago when he signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension with the organization. While he is averaging 17.1 points and 4.3 assists per game through 14 matches, Poole has a plus-minus of -64.
His splits stats show that as a reserve, he is scoring just 13.9 points per contest on a 42.1% shooting clip. But every time he starts, he has made 28.7 markers per game and connects on 47.5% of his field goals.
So, does Poole deserve to be a starter? Possibly. However, for now, the team is asking him to be the spark plug off the bench. And that's something that he should look to excel at for the reigning champs to have a chance at a back-to-back title.