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NBA Draft Grades: Warriors surprise everyone by taking Jordan Poole 28th

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The Warriors defy the expectations of mock drafters by selecting Michigan’s Jordan Poole with the 28th pick in the NBA Draft.

2019 NBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

You can really get a sense of the mood about the Golden State Warriors’ selection of Jordan Poole with the 28th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft by checking out The Ringer’s perspective in their pre-draft profile compared to that of their draft grades.

The top line of their draft profile for Poole, who they pegged as the 47th pick in their mock draft, was, “Highlight-reel scoring wing who looks the part, but frustrates as much as he excites.” That was followed by backhanded compliments like “solid passer when he wants to be” that barely softened the blunt assessment that he could be held back defensively by “his laziness, lack of awareness, poor fundamentals, and lack of discipline.” That rather pessimistic assessment of Poole’s potential prior to the draft is contrasted with Jonathan Tjarks’ evaluation of the pick in his draft grades piece (in which he gave the Warriors an A).

The Warriors learned the right lesson from picking Jacob Evans last season. Evans was seen as having a high floor after three seasons at Cincinnati, but he also had a low ceiling and little margin for error at the next level. Poole is the exact opposite. He is one of the most intriguing selections at the end of the first round...The big question for him is his defense, but his well-rounded offensive game should allow him to quickly jump Evans in the pecking order in Golden State.

Ultimately, it’s not hard to imagine Tjarks being proven right here: Poole very well could end up being better than Jacob Evans, the guy the Warriors acquired with last year’s 28th pick. Yet that’s a really low bar: Evans’ 26.7% 3-point percentage for the season limited him to mostly garbage minutes in 30 NBA games that were supplemented by multiple stints with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G-League.

Poole may very well end up being better than the player selected with the same pick at this time last year, but would that make him a rotation player or just another late first round project whose flaws temper whatever excitement he brings to the court.

Maybe the J.R. Smith comparison The Ringer and others have offered is spot on, but the unavoidable question given where most people had him projected in mock drafts is whether they could’ve gotten Poole with a lower pick.

Not Jacob Evans is not exactly high praise for a first round pick that so many people hoped would help this team — or have a chance of doing so — when it’s conceivable they could’ve gotten someone rated higher as they prepare to get through a season without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

And even the lukewarm reactions seem to reflect that dynamic.

The grades

In last night’s draft recap, I quoted SI’s Jeremy Woo’s impression of the Poole pick and I think it probably summarizes everything most concisely: “...a bit of a surprise, but not altogether a reach for Golden State.”

In other words, nobody expected Poole to go as high as he did, but there seems to be a faith that this could work out for the Warriors reflected in the grades.

Draft grades for Warriors’ selection of Jordan Poole

Site Grade Commentary
Site Grade Commentary
The Ringer A "...Poole has more talent than he got to show in college. He’s a great 3-point shooter who can also put the ball on the floor and make plays on the move."
SI B- "He’s a naturally gifted shooter who excelled on the workout circuit but struggled with consistency at Michigan."
SB Nation C "Poole will need to learn to impact the game as a playmaker and defender. Otherwise, he’s merely a one-dimensional scorer off difficult looks."
Bleacher Report C "He's a project, but one who could yield a big payoff if developed properly."
Uproxx C "This was a bit of a stunner but a closer look yields a more favorable result."
CBS Sports D "This doesn't make sense to me. With so many upside guys on the board, if you're Golden State, I'd want to get someone with greater upside or someone who can help me next season."
The Sporting News D "The Michigan sophomore is a prospect who bounced in and out of my top 60 throughout the season, and ultimately, I left him off my final list."

The Warriors do have a culture that seems ideal for developing a young shooter. The problem is that their last few draft picks haven’t developed very quickly or showed early flashes before spiraling out of coach Steve Kerr’s rotation. As everyone points out, what stands out about Poole compared to some of the other recent picks is that he clearly has an elite skill coming in: he has range and is hardly lacking for confidence.

Also, Draymond Green apparently likes him.

But Bob Myers’ measured thoughts on the draft haul probably didn’t do much to allay concerns that Poole was the wrong pick for a team headed into a year full of uncertainty.

As Warriors fans, we’ve seen Draymond Green defy the post-draft hot takes, Kevon Looney take a few years to turn into a valued contributor, and a handful of guys take so long to develop that the draft day buzz seemed misguided. Ultimately, to Myers’ point, we simply don’t know what will happen next for Poole. He could be better than Evans, he could be another guy that we wait on, he could be a guy like Marco Belinelli who shows flashes of talent here but finds success elsewhere.

Summer League might provide a little more insight, but even then ... I can’t wait until KD and Klay come back.

Poll

How would you grade the Jordan Poole pick?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    A
    (113 votes)
  • 26%
    B
    (363 votes)
  • 27%
    C
    (370 votes)
  • 7%
    D
    (104 votes)
  • 4%
    F
    (65 votes)
  • 5%
    Inc.
    (76 votes)
  • 19%
    I don’t believe in the social construct of letter grades because you can’t measure human potential with random alphabetic symbols.
    (261 votes)
1352 votes total Vote Now