OAKLAND — Draymond Green has proven to be a hard man to please over the course of his NBA career, but in the minutes after Golden State made their first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, he was all in on Jordan Poole.
“Draymond says he likes him,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said during his post-draft press conference Thursday night. “He asked me for Poole’s number so I guess maybe he texted him … I guess it’s good if he likes the guy.”
As a Michigan State product, Green’s approval of Poole comes as a surprise, especially considering that Poole is a Michigan man. Despite the rivalry, Poole is eager to live up to Green’s stamp of approval and put their differences aside this season.
“It’s just amazing and I’m really excited to meet him,” Poole said. “Draymond has some harsh things to say about Michigan, but it’s a rivalry. There’s deep hatred for one and other on the team but now we’re on the same team … Hopefully we can put that aside.”
If there’s anything that can help Green get over the Wolverine-sized hump with Poole, it’s the fact that the 20-year-old guard has a lot to offer the Warriors, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
During his two seasons in Ann Arbor, Poole averaged 9.6 points per game, including 12.8 in his sophomore season. He did so efficiently, hitting 43% of his shots from the floor. Poole also hit at least five 3-pointers in five games over the course of the 2018-19 season.
Perhaps the most compelling part of Poole’s game is the big-shot-making ability, which he put on full display in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament against Houston.
“I think just growing up, it was always a chance to solidify a win,” Poole said referencing his desire to take — and make — game winning shots. “It’s more of a branch of being a competitor … I always kind of wanted that. Whether it’s a pick up game or a shooting drill or in a game.”
Green has gone on record to voice his opinion about Michigan, going so far as to call the university “scUM” in a tweet sent to former Wolverine guard Nik Stauskas back in 2015. Even with this in mind, Poole has confidence that the two will be able to work past their differences in order to contribute to the franchise as soon as possible.
“This is an amazing organization and I’m just ready to get to work,” Poole said. “There’s going to be a lot of fun activities [with Green]. I’m just blessed.”
The one thing that Poole will have to be careful with, especially with Green, is his defensive effort and production. While he looks to be a formidable scorer, Poole does lack some of the skills needed on the other side of the ball. That won’t sit well with Green, the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year who regularly demands maximum effort from his teammates on that side of the floor.
“I think I know that personally, and everybody else knows that, as well,” Poole said. “But, it’s an improvement that I’ve been making. It’s something that I’m working on a lot. To be a two-way player offensively and defensively.”
Luckily for Poole, he should be plenty of opportunities to prove to both Green and the rest of the organization that he is capable of making those strides. With the injured Kevin Durant declining his one-year player option and Klay Thompson for most of the 2019-20 season with an ACL tear, there will be plenty of minutes.
As of five days after the draft, Poole said Green had yet to formally reach out to him, although he has communicated through social media. Communication should not be a problem for the pair moving forward. When Poole came into the facility to put away his shoes on Monday morning, he found that his locker is right next to Green’s.
“He didn’t hit me yet but I feel like its something coming soon,” Poole said. “We’ll just ride the wave and see how it goes.”