The Golden State Warriors finished off the sixth day of the Las Vegas Summer League with a matchup against the Denver Nuggets at Thomas & Mack Arena. In their final game before the Summer League Tournament tips off, the Warriors found themselves facing a large deficit for most of Wednesday night. The Nuggets led by 11 points at halftime and 17 points late in the third quarter. But the Warriors would not go quietly into that Las Vegas night as they stormed back, outscoring the Nuggets by 17 points in the fourth quarter alone, to pick up the 73-69 win.
More promising play from Poole
Jordan Poole continued his impressive Summer League on Wednesday night against the Nuggets, scoring 12 points while playing 28 minutes in the win. After a quiet first quarter, Poole got rolling in the second, including this basket midway through the quarter that allowed the Warriors to cut into the Nuggets’ advantage.
The Warriors need Poole to be an offensive contributor this season, a player opposing teams have to respect and who can take and (occasionally) make open shots. We won’t know how successful he’ll be at doing that until the regular season begins. But what we’ve seen during the Summer League is that he’s willing to try, Poole will take those shots when the opportunity is there. That’s exactly what Warriors fans wanted to see out of the rookie this summer.
Poole’s passing and court-vision impressed on Wednesday night as well. There’s no question that Poole can score, but it’s the other things that will dictate how good he can be in the NBA. If he can also be a playmaker and ball-distributor, he can really help the Warriors and provide them with some flexibility. Poole picked up his lone assist here, as he managed to make a pass in traffic to set up an easy layup.
Though he doesn’t earn an assist for this pass, Poole should get credit for the “hockey assist” as he makes the pass that sets up the assist that leads to the bucket.
Poole's such a hooper man. He makes the right cross-court pass in transition which leads to a bucket. pic.twitter.com/OSv13WYS76— Chris Montano (@gswchris) July 11, 2019
It’s worth remembering that we’re still just in Summer League and that our collective expectations shouldn’t get too high for the rookie from Michigan. But Poole has shown something thus far and it’s making those who criticized the Warriors for selecting him in the first round look a bit foolish.
A slight step back for Evans III
While Jacob Evans III was impressive in the Warriors’ games against the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers, his play against the Nuggets was less-than-inspiring. After responding well to defensive pressure in those two prior games, Evans III was frequently overwhelmed by the Nuggets’ defensive attention.
This was highlighted by a stretch at the end of the second quarter when the Nuggets turned to a full-court press, which flummoxed Evans III along with the rest of the Warriors, leading to a turnover.
Evans III finished Wednesday night’s victory with 4 of the Warriors’ 20 turnovers. For much of the game, Evans III’s ball-handling and play-making looked a little stiff and robotic. Evans III looked much more natural and in the flow of the game against the Raptors and Lakers, a quality that wasn’t really there in Wednesday night’s game.
Evans III did finish Wednesday night’s game with a team-high 17 points, including this basket that gave the Warriors the lead.
Jacob Evans gives the Warriors the lead!!! pic.twitter.com/KuIYFAGPOT— Chris Montano (@gswchris) July 11, 2019
Evans also recorded 2 blocks and 1 steal in the win over the Nuggets, displaying quick hands and good defensive instincts. Evans III was key to the Warriors’ defensive effort in the fourth quarter, as they the Nuggets to just 9 points in the final frame, which allowed the Warriors to come back and steal the victory.
After the game, Evans III was asked about how he’s improved as a defensive player and offered up the following in response.
I asked Jacob Evans III about his defense, which is dramatically better than at last year’s summer league. He gave credit to Klay, Dray, and Andre pic.twitter.com/Hx4saMXi9V— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) July 11, 2019
You can see, watching Evans III play, the different aspects of his game that could make him a rotation player in the NBA. It’s just a matter of him putting those pieces together and doing those things consistently. He’s not there quite yet but he seems to be trending in the right direction.
Miscellaneous thoughts on the supporting cast
In addition to the play of Poole and Evans III, the bench and supporting cast played a big part in the Warriors getting this Summer-League win. Juan Toscano-Anderson once again displayed the motor that he showed on Monday night against the Lakers. Though his performance was more up-and-down and there were some mistakes featured in there (his 4 turnovers stand out), it was another good game for him. Toscano-Anderson finished Wednesday night’s game with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
2 of those 10 points came on this exceedingly challenging shot midway through the fourth quarter.
Davon Reed continued where he left off on Monday night by once again playing solid defense (he finished the game with a plus/minus of +7) while Dedric Lawson came off the bench to score 6 points while also posting a plus/minus of +12.
Ky Bowman only played three minutes against the Nuggets but still displayed the energy and determination (especially on defense) that makes him a candidate for a two-way contract with the Warriors. If he can add a few more wrinkles to his game, building off of the ever-so-brief flashes he’s shown so far this summer, he might be someone who can catch on in the NBA.