Talent in the NBA is at an all-time high right now. It’s very difficult to get a spot on the team’s roster, let alone play an important role for a championship contender. For young aspiring players, they aim for higher picks in the NBA draft as it means higher chances of playing time. Two young guards broke through on elite teams – which has led to this Austin Reaves vs Jordan Poole Discussion.
So rookies who get picked later in the draft really need to earn their awards to get a permanent spot on an NBA team’s rotation. The same goes for undrafted players as there is a high probability that they will play in the G League first before being called up.
Austin Reaves vs. Jordan Poole
Jordan Poole and Austin Reaves — two of today’s league’s rising shooting guards — have risen from the bottom of the ladder to prominent roles with their respective teams. The debate between Reaves and Poole is already underway in the regular season and it’s only getting heated.
Let’s break down each player’s skills and how valuable their playstyle is in today’s game. Who will win the Austin Reaves vs Jordan Poole debate?
Another microwave goalscorer for the Warriors
When it comes to microwave scorers, the names of Stephen Curry And Clay Thompson definitely comes to mind. The Splash Brothers are the epitome of “heatcheck,” which refers to players who are more likely to get going when they see two or three shots.
With both Curry and Thompson aging, the Warriors needed to develop another junior player to potentially capture the title. It came in the form of Jordan Poole, who they picked 28th in the 2019 NBA draft.
For a player like Poole, who was drafted in the final stages of the first round, not many eyes were on him. In fact, he had a brief stint with the Warriors’ G League affiliate team. So it came as quite a surprise (but not within the Warriors organization) that Poole rose to prominence during the team’s successful title run in 2021-22.
After averaging just 20.9 minutes in his first two seasons with the Warriors, Poole’s playing time increased to an average of 30 minutes last season. His performance inevitably improved, marked by a stat line of 18.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists while leading the league in free throw percentage (92.5% on 3.5 attempts).
Poole’s stunning style of play echoed Curry’s bubbly confidence. He was a microwave scorer himself, but it also presented some challenges. There are games in which he tries miss after miss, and his work on defense raised more questions than answers.
The Lakers discover an all-around gem
Austin Reaves has a chance to be one of them best undrafted NBA players in the history. He’s not as outstanding a goalscorer as Poole, but his all-around skills have certainly helped the Lakers this season. After sharing glimpses of his talent in his rookie year, Reaves has become a real starter for the Lakers.
Reaves has always been an overlooked candidate since high school. He also had four varsity years under his belt, so he was 22 when he entered the NBA draft. Some teams are reluctant to pick freshmen in this age group, which is likely one of the reasons Reaves didn’t get drafted.
However, the six-foot-tall shooting guard turns out to be more capable than the scouts thought he was capable of. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to make decisions, especially in attack. He just knows what to do when he has the ball in his hands. Reaves doesn’t turn the ball around as often and has solid offensive fundamentals.
In addition, Reaves can up the ante if needed. With Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and D’Angelo Russell in the Lakers roster, doesn’t leave Reaves much scope for a high number of shots. But he could take over a game when needed, as evidenced by the fact that he scored more than ten 20-point games in the regular season.
In addition, he has good feet as a defender. He’s not the best defensive stopper in the league, but the Lakers trust him to do his best in that regard. He’s good at drawing attacks, and his attack point defense is above average.
Obviously, Reaves still has work to do, but he’s only a sophomore in the pro ranks. He will be fine.
Reaves is the safer bet…for now
Basketball today is a chess game that is all about defense. This is especially true in the playoffs when players on both sides of the field need to have balanced skills. We’ve seen good offensive players become unplayable because they’re a heavy burden on defense.
This could be a deciding factor in the Austin Reaves vs. Jordan Poole debate. Coupled with his questionable shot selection, Poole is certainly the weaker defender compared to Reaves. Of course we have seen that defensive players have become above-average defenders. If Poole can show us that growth in his game, we’ll come back to this article and review it.