Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors coach, understands that his team is struggling right at the moment. But one thing is not on his mind: Jordan Poole starting over Klay Thompson.
During a radio segment on “95.7 The Game,” Kerr reiterated his strategy. “No, that’s not something I’ve given any thought to,” answered the Warriors coach when asked about starting Poole over Thompson.
According to a few NBA betting sites the Warriors have the third best odds of winning the championship in 2023. Some sportsbooks still place them behind the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks.
Kerr hasn’t thought about ever bringing Klay off the bench pic.twitter.com/RZ1ww4VaMd
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) November 11, 2022
“Jordan and Klay are very different players. Jordan’s on the ball, Klay’s off the ball. We absolutely must have Jordan on the ground if Steph isn’t there.
The Warriors are currently 4-7 and 12th in the Western Conference after seven games. Thompson averages 15.1 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game as a starter. Plus, he’s shooting 36% from the field and 32.6% from 3-point range.
Steve Kerr, Warriors coach, refuses to move Klay Thomson to the bench in favor of Jordan Poole
In 76 appearances last season, Poole made 51 starts in Golden State’s starting lineup. Kerr moved Thompson into the starting-5 unit while he was still recovering from an ACL injury.
Poole averaged 18.5 points, 3.4 boards and 4 assists per games, which is a career high. He also set career highs of 44.8% shooting from the floor, and 36.4% shooting from beyond the arc.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t change combinations and rotations to get certain guys on the court together, but Klay is a starter,” continued Kerr. “That 5-man unit is the best in the league.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to break up that unit. What we really need to do is tighten up the areas where we’ve been weak in. If we do that, I have a lot of confidence that we’ll get back on the right track.”
The Warriors are one the league’s most vulnerable teams defensively. They’re allowing 120.6 points per game, ranking 29th overall. Their defensive efficiency rating of 1.120 is also 27th.
The Warriors would benefit offensively if Poole was moved back to the starting line-up, but it could also make them worse on defense. Though, it’s deceiving because Thompson is in a bit of a slump right now.
Poole has proven to be a better defensive and offensive option than Thompson so far this season. This fourth-year player averages 15.2 points and 1.2 rebounds off the bench.
Success in a sixth-man role does not always translate into success as a starter, especially when it is back-to-back years. Would Poole be capable of repeating his last season’s numbers if Kerr placed Thompson on the bench? The 23-year-old playing alongside Curry worked wonders for the team during Thompson’s absence.