Warriors 2022 training camp preview: What is Jordan Poole's encore?

What Warriors fans can expect from Poole in 2022-23 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors' 2021-22 season became the Year of the Poole Party with Jordan Poole's breakout campaign in San Francisco.

After shooting 27.9 percent from 3-point range as a rookie and then playing 11 games in the G League in Year 2, Poole blew up the word "bust." That was the label placed upon him after the Warriors took him with the No. 28 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft -- a slot many thought was a reach -- and he didn't look like a true contributor for much of his first two seasons. But there were hints in his second season.

When he returned from the G League's Orlando bubble, Poole averaged 18.5 points and shot 39.2 percent from three for the Warriors over 11 games in March. Steve Kerr warned us all offseason that Poole's residence in the gym was about to pay off. He was right.

This past season, Poole proved to be more than a contributing piece. He looked the part of a star at times, someone who can open new chapters to the Warriors' dynasty. So, what's next?

Let's take a look.

2022-23 Expectations

With Klay Thompson still sidelined last year, Poole began the season as the Warriors' starting shooting guard. He scored 20 points in the season opener, reached the 30-point mark three times in his first 17 games and put up at least 20 points seven times in that span. Before Thompson made his return from a two-plus year absence, Poole played in 32 games (29 starts) and averaged 17.5 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 33.7 percent on threes.

What about when Klay came back? Poole actually was better once the Splash Brother was in the mix.

In his final 44 regular-season games (22 starts), Poole averaged 19.2 points and 4.4 assists while shooting 45 percent from the field and 38.3 from 3-point range. He averaged 13.6 field goal attempts prior to Thompson completing his comeback, and 14.1 shots after. Poole at 22 years old convinced us all he can't only be a third scoring option or a second, but that he can even be a first scoring option if that's what's called for.

For the crowd that needs more proof, Poole averaged 26.0 points, 5.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds in the 13 games that Steph Curry missed at the end of the regular season. Scoring at least 20 points seven times in the playoffs with a 65.4 true shooting percentage doesn't hurt, too.

Poole will be the Warriors' sixth man this season, getting the nod for starts in games where Curry and Thompson aren't available. He averaged 18.5 points last season as someone asked to jump between being a starter and coming off the bench. For his fourth season, he very well could average anywhere from 18 to 22 points. And looking at his numbers from long distance, those should be on the rise as well.

From Year 1 to Year 2, Poole increased his 3-point percentage by 7.2 percent and then by 1.3 percent from his second season to his third. He shot 36.4 percent from there last season, but over 38 percent when Curry was injured and 39.1 percent in the playoffs.

RELATED: Why Poole's contract could be rising with extension looming

Scoring isn't in question. It's his defense that is, and his coach is challenging him to improve there.

"I don't know that he can do anything more to step up offensively," Kerr recently said on 95.7 The Game's "Damon & Ratto" show. "So the area where he can still improve is at the defensive end.

"I thought last year in the playoffs when he was fully engaged and really playing with physicality, he showed he can be a legit two-way player, but he knows he hasn't become that consistently. And so that's the next step for Jordan."

His breakout season should have resulted in a Most Improved Player award. Now, Sixth Man of the Year should be in sight.

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