Jordan Poole’s refreshing outlook on increased scrutiny in 2022-23 NBA season

JP’s refreshing outlook on increased scrutiny in 2022-23 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Jordan Poole — and the rest of the Warriors — had a tumultuous 2022-23 NBA season, which ended in a Western Conference semifinals defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

From his preseason incident with teammate Draymond Green to a lackluster 2023 NBA playoff performance, Poole explained Saturday during his exit interview with local media how he was able to keep a cool head this season and rise above the outside noise.

“I think it’s cool,” Poole said of the increased attention he received from fans and pundits alike this season. “You live, you play basketball to impact lives, impact the youth. You know you want to be recognized for your talents. Comes with it, good games, bad games, especially now in today’s era, we are growing up with like a different media, new media than it was 20 years ago.

“Just try to be an example. Lead by example for the youth. It just comes with it. Good day, bad days; people will say good things, good opinions, bad opinions. But at the end of the day, we are playing a game that we love, and we are able to change families’ lives, and that’s all that really matters, honestly.”

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After a breakout 2021-22 campaign followed by a historic postseason for Poole, the 23-year-old guard faced criticism during the Warriors’ most recent playoff run. He averaged 10.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 13 games during the 2023 playoffs and struggled to find his shot during the regular season as well.

He told reporters he didn’t think Green punching him before the season’s start impacted the Warriors’ campaign as a whole, and noted he understands social media chatter about his performance comes with the territory of being an NBA player who signed a lucrative contract extension last summer.

“I was having a conversation with somebody,” Poole said. “Like the stuff that we are seeing people say now, whether it’s on social media, Instagram, Twitter whatever it is, these are the same people that were saying the same things 20 years ago. They just didn’t have the outlet. They didn’t have the opportunity to; they were just reading newspapers or listening to the radio.

“So, like I said, it’s 2023, and it’s what we grew up in, our generation. We’ve got to adjust, adapt. I feel like we are used to it. They will find something to say about anybody, like Jayson Tatum had a rough start in what was it, Game 6, I think, against Philly. Like, what are we talking about? He had a great ending and brought them back, forced a Game 7. So good, bad opinions, it doesn’t matter. We are all out here to play hard and try to win games.”

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Poole and Donte DiVincenzo formed a close friendship this season, and the latter went to bat for his friend Saturday during his own exit interview with reporters.

“I’ll ride with Jordan till the wheels fall off to be honest with you,” DiVincenzo said. “The amount of attention he has, the spotlight on him; I see him come in every day and never changed his work ethic. Never changed the type of person he is, and you know, for that, I have a great deal of respect for.

“But the thing is, he’s still willing to learn. He’s still willing to accept different voices for him to get better. But the one thing about JP that I admire the most is his confidence. It never wavers, and we’re definitely going to need that to go forward. You can’t have people out there that second-guess themselves or their confidence isn’t at an all-time high. I love sharing the court with Jordan. Like I said, no matter what happens with him, he’s always going to come in the next day and be Jordan.”

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Through it all, the criticism and the support, Poole has been able to keep things in perspective thanks to his faith, friends and family, he said.

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“I have a really good support system, and I’m a child of God and I have a lot of faith,” Poole concluded. “Being able just to rely on my faith and talk to my supporting cast, it really helps a lot. Like I said it, just comes with it. You find ways to learn, and, like, adapt and grow. Not really much to it.”

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