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The Golden Choice 2019, Pt. 1: Why Jordan Poole could fit the Warriors

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The Michigan sharpshooter could possess the three-point stroke and college pedigree to fill a gap on the roster.

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On Thursday—June 20, 2019—the Golden State Warriors will have the opportunity to bolster their roster with young talent in the NBA Draft.

Last season, the Warriors drafted Jacob Evans—supposedly a solid three-point shooter with defensive tenacity. However, from the start of 2018 Summer League, Evans looked out of place. Today, he still looks out of place. His shot has been flat, his positioning has been off, and his confidence has stagnated. In his young NBA career, Evans is averaging fewer than five minutes per game and less than one point per game. In the G League, he’s averaging 11.6 points per game and shooting 31% from three—not exactly tearing it up. Evans still has the potential to contribute to the Warriors in the future—but is far from that ideal right now.

On top of Evans, it’s too soon to tell which Warriors will be returning next season. The respective futures of DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant remain fuzzy—but it’s unlikely that all four will return to the Bay.

So, it’s time to look at who the Warriors might pick in the 2019 Draft. No pick is a sure thing, but it’s sure fun to predict.

Let’s start with Jordan Poole.

Who is Jordan Poole?

Jordan Poole is a 6-5 sophomore guard at the University of Michigan.

Tinder bio: Jordan has soulful eyes, a creepy mustache, and a smooth jumper. His name is two vowels alway from being “Jordan Peele.” He rocks short shorts.

Big moment: Last season, as a freshman, Poole ripped the hearts out of Houston by doing this in the NCAA tournament...

The pros and cons of Jordan Poole

The pros: In last season’s draft hubbub, we missed something. Jacob Evans attended the University of Cincinnati. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati’s coach, is known for grit-and-grind basketball—not the free-flowing, pass-heavy undulations of Steve Kerr’s Warriors—or even the NBA writ large.

Unlike Jacob Evans, Jordan Poole will be entering the NBA after playing for John Beilein—one of the best coaches in the NCAA. The Wolverines pass well, demand constant movement off the ball, shoot lots of threes, and make lots of threes. And Michigan has a strong track record of developing decent NBA players: D.J. Wilson, Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson, and Trey Burke. Poole has the pedigree to transition to the NBA and not suck.

Shooting: We can never be sure how a player’s shooting will translate into the NBA. That said, Poole can stroke it. This season he’s averaging almost 13 points a game, shooting 40.1% on threes (119 attempts thus far) and 80% from the free throw line. For comparison, Evans attempted 162 attempts at a 37% clip last season for Cincinnati.

Defense: At 6-5, Poole is a flexible defender and currently plays on a Michigan team that boasts the best defensive efficiency in the country. He has the ability to guard the 1 or 2. Compare Poole to Quinn Cook. We love Quinn Cook’s offensive firepower, but his defensive flexibility leaves much to be desired. Poole has the height to defend in the NBA.

The cons: Poole isn’t mentioned as a first round pick on most draft boards—and for good reason. His position is unclear. According to various scouting reports, Poole’s dribbling isn’t solid enough to play point guard. But he might not be tall enough to play shooting guard.

To further muddy the waters, he often takes on a secondary role when surrounded by more assertive players. To find himself in the good graces of NBA general managers, Poole will need to be more assertive down the stretch, especially in tournament time.

Tune into Michigan this spring. The Wolverines have three draft prospects in Poole, Charles Matthews, and Ignas Brazdeikis. All three could drop to the end of the first round.

Power Rankings: Who should the Warriors draft?

For each draft piece, these rankings will be updated with new additions.

1. Jordan Poole—Michigan, sophomore, guard