The NBA is ever-evolving. The league has always undergone shifts, and it has changed more rapidly in recent years than perhaps at any other time in its long history. Part of that is due to the rise of the three-pointer, and part of it is due to the way coaches now see the game.
Jordan Poole is an example of both. This article will study why that is by looking at how the NBA changed in recent years and analyzing how players now fill roles. The guard has plenty of talent, but he owes a lot to his positioning on the court as well.
From Set to Versatile
Going back just a few decades, the NBA was a league built on roles. Big men were clearly defined as sitting down on the block, wings stayed on the edges of the court, and guards typically did their work at the top of the key. It was a system and one that worked.
However, as players began to become more athletic, and as organizations began to experiment with different lineups, everything changed. Moving into the mid 2000’s, player roles began to rapidly shift and change. Lines became even more blurred in the 2010’s.
Big men began to get leaner, quicker, and learned to shoot. They could sit out on the wing or spot up in ways that had never been seen before. On the flip side, guards also began to get bigger and stronger without losing any of their prowess.
Where points used to always be small, they now had much more size. Bigger and faster players quickly became valuable commodities, leading to the rise of strong outside athletes like Luka Doncic and LaMelo Ball. Poole, however, does not fit into that trend.
Going His Own Way
Jordan Poole is, by today’s standards, on the smaller side. That’s because he’s a shooting guard who stands at 6’4. That’s not short, but most teams want to find players for that position with a little more length or size.
Even so, Poole plays a strong role on the Warriors. He has a lot of natural athleticism that overcomes his size disadvantage, and he’s able to score from the outside. That always makes him a threat when he’s on the outside and opens up the offense.
On top of that, his smaller size does enable him to run the point from time to time. It’s not his main position, but he can freely shift back and forth. That’s also incredibly important because it allows the Warriors to run many more offensive sets than they normally would.
Poole may not have the raw size of other popular outside players like Giannis Antetokounmpo or James Harden, but he manages to fill in the shooting guard position just fine. That’s because he’s never tried to be something he’s not.
Where many players accidentally hamper themselves by trying to fit into roles they don’t necessarily embody, Poole understands his size and what he’s good at.
He’s incredibly quick off the dribble and has a deadly spot up three pointer. He can jump high as well. That combination of traits creates a formidable threat who doesn’t need to try and go over or through opponents.
Rather, Poole is all about his quickness. He’s an amazing shooter who’s release is so fast that almost no one can catch up to it.
Poole is a unique player for many reasons. Not only is he a late bloomer who suddenly came to life on one of the best teams in the game, but he’s small for his role too. Still, as with any great athlete, he’s never let that hold him back. He’s simply adjusted and thrived in his position.