How NBA experts graded Warriors’ Poole-for-CP3 blockbuster

Thursday’s shocking blockbuster trade between the Warriors and Washington Wizards took the NBA world by storm, as mentioned Golden State villain Chris Paul came to the bay in exchange for the 24-year-old guard Jordan Poole.

As part of the deal, the Warriors also reportedly sent youngsters Ryan Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr, along with future draft picks, to the Wizards.

While fans expressed both excitement and outrage online, it didn’t take long experts to weigh in, also. Here’s a breakdown of how they think Golden State fared in the Poole-for-CP3 trade:

Warrior’s grade: B-plus

“It would be nice to have truth serum to ask new Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. and the rest of the team’s front office two questions:

On the court, Paul addresses the Warriors’ biggest weakness: their tendency to crater offensively whenever two-time MVP Stephen Curry is on the bench. …

At some point, the Warriors would likely be forced to choose between keeping Poole and keeping core starters Draymond Green (an unrestricted free agent this summer after declining a $27.6 million player option for 2023-2024) and Klay Thompson (into the last season) of his contract).

Golden State has always been reluctant to part with first-round picks. The Warriors had dealt just one since winning their first title in 2015. Their willingness to break with tradition, albeit with significant protections — ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that the pick is top-20 protected and by definition cannot roll over to the following draft—suggests both an urgent need to maximize the remainder of Curry’s prime and an awareness of impending financial constraints.”

Warriors class: B

“There’s a fair argument to be made that Golden State knocked this deal out of the park. Financially, they basically replaced Poole’s $28 million salary with Paul’s $30.8 million for next season, but while Poole would cost the Warriors a fortune — in this incoming period of even tougher tax penalties no less – through 2027, Paul’s money comes off the books next summer.

Add to that the fact that Paul is actually still a better player than Poole, or at least a less damaging player in the playoffs, and Golden State did well from a basketball standpoint as well. But I’m not ready to go that far. …

The truth is, Paul’s biggest value to the Warriors could be as part of another trade down the road, perhaps at the February deadline. If I’m the Warriors, I’m already on the phone trying to bag Paul, who is a more attractive trade chip than Poole because he has an expiring contract at a time when the entire league is trying to cut wages, and Jonathan Kuminga for a genuine upgrade.”

Warriors class: B

“One of [the Warriors’] biggest issues last season was Poole’s decline (we’ll get to that in a second). The Warriors didn’t consistently have an offensive force that drove things when Curry was on the sidelines. It’s always an adventure for the Warriors when Curry leaves a game, but offensive production dropped by 7.7 points per 100 possessions last season when Curry was on the bench. …

CP3’s ability to run an offense should fix that, except that Paul’s style and the Warriors’ style clash quite a bit. Paul loves a slow, methodical dissection on offense that leads to a lot of pick-and-roll (sometimes good) and isolation mismatches against switches. The Warriors play with flow and pace and ball movement when things are going smoothly. …

From Poole’s point of view, we will now find out if the reasons for last season’s inconsistency and poor play with him on the floor had to do with a regression in his game, or maybe it had everything to do with Green beating Poole in a practice and the video is leaked to the public. The Warriors culture seemed shaken last season after the incident. And perhaps there would always be a regression. Maybe the Warriors had a lucky title run the previous season, or it was just natural to see things regress to the mean. …

It’s a necessary move, but we don’t know if the styles will get used to each other. At least they’re off the hook for the money for Poole, and CP3 could be a steadier hand off the bench as long as his 38-year-old body holds up. Now we’ll see if this is essentially cultural addition by subtraction.”

Warrior’s grade: B-plus

“Newly minted GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. wasted no time in taking his first big swing, and it could prove to be a worthy one. Poole is talented as a scorer, but his playing time was inconsistent in the postseason due to his defensive struggles and inconsistent offensive. Paul is almost the opposite. While not a volume scorer, CP3 can take care of the ball and help set others up offensively.

Playing with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson should help extend Paul’s shelf life. He has struggled to stay in top form deep into the playoffs the past three years, in large part because of the offensive load he carries. … How CP fits into the Dubs’ fast-paced, chaos-oriented style of basketball will be interesting to watch develop, but there are far worse players to try to integrate alongside a championship core. At the very least, he immediately becomes the best backup point guard in the league — which is no small feat considering how quickly Golden State tends to fall apart when Curry sits.

Contractually, the Warriors save money in the long term, which is important for a team that threatens to zoom past the second tax apron. Golden State can cut bait with Paul next summer if the fit isn’t right, or even use his deal in another trade before the deadline if necessary (thanks to his practically expiring status).

Finally, any concerns about Golden State playing on two timelines appear to have been put to rest. You couldn’t get further away from a youth movement by swapping Poole for Paul.

PS I’m curious if this trade will have ramifications for Draymond Green entering free agency. Green has played pseudo-point guard for the Dubs over the years. The offensive fit between him, Paul and Curry isn’t the cleanest. Hmmmmm.”

Warrior’s grade: C-plus

“Man, the warriors really wanted to get rid of Poole.

Just a few months away from giving him a massive four-year contract, Golden State decided it would be better to attach future assets to Poole rather than keep him for another season.

(Remember that two-timeline strategy? Well, that’s been thrown out the window.)

As Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes noted, the Warriors will not waive Paul. They see him as a key part of a group that will look to make another championship run, and they clearly want to maximize Stephen Curry’s remaining prime years. Paul understands that he only has so many swings at one title left, so he will be hungry to compete with this group.

Paul is a much more stable presence with the ball in his hands than Poole. He should be able to use his “Point God” magic in the pick-and-roll. Imagine Draymond Green setting the screen and shooting to space the floor – it’s hard to defend. He can also calm everyone down when the Warriors get too loose with the ball.

But trusting Paul, who turned 38 in May, for an entire season is extremely risky at this stage of his career. He averaged 13.9 points and 8.9 assists for the Suns last season, but he played in just 59 regular-season games and missed the final four games in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Nuggets.

Golden State is counting on the training staff to keep Paul healthy and avoid another injury at the worst possible time. That game might not pay off.”

Warriors class: B

“I have to admit I’m surprised. But that kind of makes sense.

On the Warriors’ end, while spending time around them during their second-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, it became crystal clear that they needed to trade Jordan Poole. He underperformed. The tension was palpable. Not to mention, of course, a cloud hung over the team all season after the incident between Poole and Draymond Green last October. Poole had to go, especially if Green (who opted out of his contract and is an unrestricted free agent) were to return, which he says is his goal.

Paul gives the Warriors a Hall of Fame point guard who, at age 38, is a savvy veteran who will be able to set up Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. By making this deal, the Warriors cut costs, given that Paul is in the penultimate year of a contract that is not guaranteed for next season. And they made a strong statement: they are worried about the present, not the long term. What I’m most interested in tracking here is, if Green returns, how will Paul’s and Green’s demonstrative leadership styles fit together?”

Warrior’s Class: D-plus

“… Could the Warriors have done better than Paul in exchange for Poole, Rollins and modest draft compensation? The potential scope of such a deal was never obvious, but giving up a 24-year-old playmaker who shot 62, 7% on two during Golden State’s title run last June for future cap help provided by a small, injury-plagued guard approaching 40 is a tough pill to swallow.

The opportunity cost here isn’t sky-high whether Poole was traded or not, and perhaps the Warriors’ hopes of winning a fifth championship in 10 years are a little brighter with Paul in the fold. But the prioritization of long-term financial factors and immediate risks presented by Paul’s age, health and poor fit alongside Curry is all it takes for the Dubs to earn less than a passing grade on their first major transaction since Bob Myers’ exit.”

Warrior’s grade: B-plus

“If he can stay healthy in the postseason — a big IF — Chris Paul is exactly what the Warriors need on offense. With Steph Curry at the helm, Golden State can already outplay almost anyone out of a gym. What they needed, was a calming presence that can facilitate their attack and find a good shot in the play.

They didn’t get that with Poole’s very mercurial play and shot selection. They’ll get it with Paul – perhaps the greatest pure floor general in NBA history. And for the living legend/future Hall of Famer, he gets to continue chasing his first ever NBA title.

A win for everyone involved in the Bay Area.”

Warrior’s grade: A-minus

“Golden State adds another veteran piece to its lineup, and with Draymond Green most likely returning to the organization on a new deal, it appears the Warriors have abandoned their short-lived experiment in trying to compete for titles while plans for the future. It has been publicly stated that the preseason fight between Green and Poole last year soured the chemistry of the team this past season and it was clear that one of them had to go. It turned out to be Poole , who failed to provide a spark to the team during the playoffs.

As for CP3, this will probably be his last chance to secure a ring, and it’s an ideal situation. Given his age and injury issues over the past few years, the Warriors could keep him by bringing him off the bench as a sixth man and using him to take some pressure off Steph Curry.”

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