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Steve Kerr on Jordan Poole’s development — “The area where he can still improve is at the defensive end”

The Warriors have other options behind Poole, so if he doesn't improve defensively, he could end up getting replaced in their rotation.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talks to guard Jordan Poole

Steve Kerr and Jordan Poole

The Golden State Warriors didn't have many improvements to make this offseason. Granted, that's the liberty you have when you win the NBA title as the Warriors did last season, but it's made for a relatively quiet offseason for the Warriors. Any major improvement will be made internally, and the no.1 candidate for that is Jordan Poole.

Steve Kerr identifies an area of improvement for Jordan Poole

The Warriors have a deep rotation that has allowed them to reemerge as the top team in the NBA. One player who figures to play a significant role in the rotation for this season and many beyond is Jordan Poole. Poole emerged as a solid secondary scorer behind Steph Curry last season, which helped the Warriors go on their championship run last season.

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Poole improved last season on offense, and when head coach Steve Kerr was asked about potential improvements that Poole could make, Kerr said there wasn't much left he had to learn on offense. Kerr believes that Poole needs to improve on defense, though, in order to become one of the Warriors' top two-way players.

"I don't know that he can do anything more to step up offensively. So the area where he can still improve is at the defensive end. I thought last year in the playoffs when he was fully engaged and really playing with physicality, he showed he can be a legit two-way player, but he knows he hasn't become that consistently. And so that's the next step for Jordan," Steve Kerr said on Damon & Ratto

Could Jordan Poole lose his spot in the rotation if his defense doesn't improve?

Whereas the Warriors of old relied heavily on their offensive success to help them win games, they relied more on their defense last season. In some ways, Poole was a liability on defense when he wasn't as focused as his teammates. This made it challenging for Kerr to leave Poole on the court for as long as he'd like because he was getting picked on defensively.

Golden State had defensive lineups they could run when they didn't want to use Poole, and in a sense, they still do. They lost Gary Payton II in free agency but brought Donte DiVincenzo in to replace him. DiVincenzo has become a solid three-and-D player throughout his career and could become a bigger piece of the rotation than Poole if he continues to slack on defense.

Being a good scorer in the NBA is great, but without defensive skills, it will be tough to get consistent playtime. Poole found that out in a sense during the Warriors playoff run, and Kerr is hoping that will motivate him to improve his defensive skills this offseason. If he can, the Warriors will once again be one of the toughest teams to beat in the NBA.

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