NBA

Why Jordan Poole’s Warriors contract could grow as extension looms

ADVERTISEMENT

With his cellphone fogged up with celebratory champagne and cigar smoke, Jordan Poole turned to Andrew Wiggins in the Warriors locker room after the two won their first championship in Boston and while living in the moment, both Warriors came to directing.

“You are going to have a bag! Poole told Wiggins.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No, YOU are about to get a bag!” Wiggins said to Poole.

“No, no, no – you’re about to get a SAC!” Poole exclaimed to his teammate.

“We’re about to get a bag,” Wiggins replied.

“WE are going to get a bag!” Poole replied and the party continued.

And now they wait, with an important date looming for Poole.

The 23-year-old guard became eligible to sign a rookie-wide contract extension on July 6. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement by Oct. 17, Poole will enter the next offseason as a restricted free agent. The Warriors are about to find themselves juggling a lot of financial situations and they don’t want to end up on the wrong side of Poole’s future.

Training camp is less than a month away now, and yet Poole’s contract values ​​and numbers could be on the rise. Three recent offers, one from his draft class and two from the previous year, might show why.

Poole was the 28th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, a selection many “pundits” considered a complete reach or miss by general manager Bob Myers and Golden State’s front office. A year earlier, the Portland Trail Blazers had pounced on a young guard full of potential and question marks at Anfernee Simons. Nine picks after Simons, the Dallas Mavericks released goaltender Jalen Brunson from Villanova.

Both players signed contracts north of $100 million this offseason. Those numbers shouldn’t just stand out against Poole and his agents at CAA, but the Warriors as well.

Simons and Poole are essentially the same age. If we’re technical, Simons is the older of the two 23-year-old 11-day-olds. Last season, Simons broke out in Portland and averaged 17.3 points and 3.9 assists per game, while shooting 44.3% from the field and 40.4% from deep, giving him gives an effective field goal percentage of 55.5. Poole averaged 18.5 points and 4.0 assists per game during his breakout campaign last season, shooting 44.8% from the field and 36.4% from 3-point range, which equates to a effective field goal percentage of 54.8.

If you thought Poole had his shortcomings on defense, Simons’ defensive rating per 100 possessions was 11 points lower. He had a 121 defensive rating last season for the Blazers, and Poole was at 110 for the Warriors. They each had an offensive rating of 112, but Simons was worth just 1.9 victory shares, a number Poole far exceeded. He collected 6.0 win shares, ranking behind only Steph Curry (8.0) and Kevon Looney (6.8) last season.

After signing a four-year, $100 million deal as a restricted free agent, Simons will earn north of $22 million this season. As of now, Poole is expected to earn $3.9 million for the 2022-23 season, a figure that is nowhere near his value.

Brunson, after playing a key role in the Dallas Mavericks’ success last season, signed a four-year, $104 million contract with the New York in free agency this summer. The 25-year-old averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists last season, shooting 50.2% from the field, 37.3% from three and had a 54.9 true shooting percentage . In his final season as Mav, Brunson was worth 7.5 win shares, had an offensive rating of 118 and a defensive rating of 112.

The Warriors beat Dallas in five games in the Western Conference Finals. Over those five games, Brunson averaged 18.0 points and Poole averaged 16.4. Brunson shot 46.4% from the field and Poole had an absurdly effective field goal percentage of 63.6. Brunson made 40.9% of his threes for the series, and Poole made exactly 40%.

For the series, Brunson took 25 more shots than Poole. But Poole (13.9) had a better match score than Brunson (13.4) and his plus-36 over-under was just a bit better than Brunson’s under-40.

The latest contract to emerge is the most recent and is from the same draft class as Poole.

On Monday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced that the New York Knicks and guard/forward RJ Barrett are finalizing a four-year rookie extension that could be worth up to $120 million. Barrett was chosen with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft, 25 spots ahead of Poole. Although he had a strong start to his career, Barrett didn’t exactly live up to expectations and wasn’t the star many envisioned after his year at Duke.

Barrett last season averaged 20.0 points on 3.2 more shot attempts per game than Poole. He shot just 40.8% from the field and 34.2% from long range, giving an effective field goal percentage of 46.6. His offensive rating was just 103 and his defensive rating was one point lower than Poole’s at 113. Barrett was worth 2.3 win shares last season, 3.7 fewer wins than Poole.

Many see Barrett as a 1A/1B scoring threat over Poole. Why? The argument is really solely based on the draft slot and the environment. The numbers are not in his favour.

When Curry injured his foot during the final two weeks of the regular season, Poole stepped up and averaged 26.0 points per game, including the Celtics game Curry quit early due to the injury. During that 13-game stretch, Poole also averaged 5.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and shot 38.2 percent from deep while averaging more than 11 3-point attempts per game. It looks like a 1A/1B rating threat.

Throughout the playoffs, Poole was the Warriors’ second-best offensive player at 22 in his first crack of the biggest stage. Curry was the only Warriors player better on that side of the ball. Not a bad company to be in. Barrett made the playoffs once and averaged 14.4 points in a first-round loss where he shot 38.8%. In the playoffs overall, Poole averaged 17.0 points and shot 50.8% from the field for the champions.

“I know with a guy like Jordan, those things usually come down to training camp and the end-of-line deadline,” Myers said during his post-season press conference in June when asked about Poole’s extension.

RELATED: How Klay’s Brotherly Mentorship of Poole Helped Warriors

Training camp is now less than four weeks away. Poole’s extension deadline is seven weeks away. Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported in late June that extension negotiations between Poole and the Warriors will likely have to begin at four years and $100 million, or what ended up being Simmons’ contract. Between Simons, Brunson and Barrett’s contracts this offseason, there’s no reason Poole’s value shouldn’t be on the rise.

Of all the financial questions the Warriors will have to answer in the near future, knowing what to do with Poole should be high on their to-do list. Letting an internal development story with star potential find a new home is the last thing the franchise wants to see happen. It won’t be easy.

Good luck Bob.

Download and follow the Dubs Talk podcast

ADVERTISEMENT