SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Golden State Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson said teammate Jordan Poole reminds him of himself at a younger age, an observation that should send shivers down the spines of opponents everywhere.
Thompson, who is inching closer to a return after missing the last two seasons with leg injuries, said he has been impressed by his 22-year-old replacement, whose scoring has been a big factor in the Warriors’ NBA-best 15-2 record.
“I’ve had a really close look at what Jordan has been doing the past couple years,” Thompson told reporters on Tuesday about the third-year player.
“Jordan came in as a rookie who had a crazy amount of energy – had a lot of sauce to his game – and just needed to harness it a little bit.”
Thompson, who has won three championships with the Warriors and is considered one of the best shooters off all time, said Poole has steadily improved both offensively and defensively because of his willingness to push himself.
“To see his growth as a player, it’s incredible,” Thompson said of Poole, who is averaging 18.4 points per game on 45.8% shooting from the field, including 33.3% from three-point range.
“It makes me proud to see because he reminded me of myself when I was in my younger years. The way he would react emotionally to missing shots or having a bad game, I could tell it really bothered him.
“You like to see that as a vet because that means the guy really cares about his craft.”
Poole will come off the bench when Thompson returns to the starting lineup to be part of what is already a fearsome second unit for a team with championship aspirations.
“I’m so proud of him. He’s an incredible player,” Thompson said.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)