The Golden State Warriors are at a transitional phase in the season. The team is trying to figure out rotations after the return of Klay Thompson to the starting lineup.
The player that has been affected the most by the return of Thompson is breakout player Jordan Poole. With the absence of Thompson on Friday, Poole was back in the starting lineup for the 138-96 win over the Bulls. Poole had his best game since Thompson’s return, scoring 22 points in the win. Since his move to coming off the bench, Poole has been averaging just 11.7 points in three games. Friday night he was asked about the changes since Thompson came back.
“We’re still trying to figure it out,” Poole said, “it’s different. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult. It’s a change and I think we all were expecting it. We got to figure it out. We’re a really good team. We know that. Klay is a really, really good player. Just acclimating him back into the way we play. He’s been out for two years. It’s a little bit of a different team than he had when he left.
“We’re just trying to put all the pieces together.”
With the recent changes, Poole is probably frustrated. In his defense it’s understandable, Poole is in the middle of a breakout season, and now has to move to a sixth man role in the middle of the season. To see him have a good attitude about the move publicly, is an encouraging sign for the Warriors.
Despite the return of Thompson, the Warriors will certainly need Poole to stay play well. The bench play has been a big part of the team’s success so far this season, and the addition of Poole as possibly one of the league’s best sixth men could make the team even more potent.
Figuring Things Out
As Poole said, the Warriors still have to put all the pieces together. The team is one of the deeper team of the league, so there are a lot of pieces to figure out. The Warriors currently have 12 players that play more than 10 minutes per game, 13 players when you factor in veteran Andre Iguodala, whose played in 20 games this season. If James Wiseman is able to come back that could add another piece into the fold.
Later in the season and in the postseason, the rotations will tighten for the Warriors, but the team has work to do between now and then. The first step for the team is to get healthy and get Draymond Green back. After his return, head coach Steve Kerr and his staff will have to figure out the rotations.
One of the most important things for the Warriors to figure out over the second half of the season will be, which lineups work for the team. Also with Thompson’s minutes about to increase, what will that mean for players like Poole, Gary Payton II, and Damion Lee. For as great of a start as the Warriors are off to this season, the team still has a lot of work to do.