Poole: Warriors Want To Get Younger

Jordan Bell could become Golden State's fifth starter next season

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 11, 2018 - 8:51 am

Despite winning yet another NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors won’t rest on their laurels this offseason. Instead, they will work stay ahead of the NBA curve. That means re-signing Kevin Durant, of course, but it also means promoting players from within.

“I know they want to get younger,” NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Monte Poole said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “JaVale (McGee) was good for them this year, and I think they’re thinking maybe next year is the year they make the change and promote Damian Jones to a degree.”

Jones, a 7-foot center, was a first-round pick out of Vanderbilt in in 2016. He averaged 1.7 points and 0.9 rebounds in 5.9 minutes per game this season.

“Damian is a guy that within the organization some people think he’s ready – (and) thought he was ready already,” Poole said. “I think this coming year is the year where they think he can be a guy that can kind of give them what JaVale gives them. He’s a tremendous athlete – a better athlete than JaVale, probably. He’s long. He makes mistakes, but so does JaVale. That’s one thing (the Warriors might do).”

Another thing? Make Jordan Bell the fifth starter.

“Jordan Bell is a guy that they hope has a bright future for them,” Poole said. “He’s the guy that they want to be their fifth starter. They wanted that for him this past season. They wanted him to develop into that position – and for a while there, it looked like he was. The Warriors thought, ‘Okay, when we play the Rockets, we’ll have Jordan Bell to be able to match up with Clint Capela.’ Jordan played really well early but (then) he got hurt. He kind of got a little happy with himself. He started feeling himself and just doing things that, as a rookie, you shouldn’t let yourself do.”

That’s a no-no, especially when playing for the best team in the world.

“The teammates noticed that and they’re looking at him kind of with a side eye, like, ‘Dude, what are you doing? You’re a rookie. When we have optional practice, they don’t mean optional for you,’” Poole said, laughing. “I think Jordan for a while kind of fell into that, to where he thought he had it made – ‘I’m a rookie, I’m playing pretty well, I’ve got this NBA thing figured out.’ His teammates had to tell him, ‘No, you don’t really.’”

Durant, in fact, had a sit-down chat with Bell in April. He explained exactly what the Warriors needed – and expected – from him.

“Jordan said, ‘When (Durant) told me how important basketball was to him and he said he wanted to die playing the game, I’m looking at him like, this is Kevin Durant telling me this. And if it means that much to him and I’m on his team, who am I to not have it mean that much to me?’” Poole explained. “So Jordan took the next few weeks and kind of regained the trust of his teammates because he started doing the things he had to do. He became more diligent about his work. He became more of a student. By the time they got to the second round of the playoffs, his teammates were trusting him again, and by the time they got to the Finals, he was getting important minutes.”