Swimming in a Poole of Buckets: Jordan Poole as a fit with the Indiana Pacers

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: Jordan Poole #2 of the Michigan Wolverines drives against Kyler Edwards #0 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: Jordan Poole #2 of the Michigan Wolverines drives against Kyler Edwards #0 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Honda Center on March 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Jordan Poole is an effective offensive talent who creates for himself and others with ease. He would be an excellent draft pick for the Indiana Pacers.

Michigan’s Jordan Poole is one of the most underrated players in the 2019 NBA Draft class. He is excellent with the ball in his hands and in space. Despite not being mocked in the first round by most analysts, Poole is worth a first-round pick.

Poole first made a name for himself in the 2018 NCAA Tournament with his game-winner in the second round. The shot propelled Poole into somewhat of a star at Michigan.

He became the full-time starter last season, and his numbers took quite a leap.

After scoring 6.1 points per game on 4.6 shots as a freshman, Poole averaged nearly 13 points on 10 attempts per game in 2018-19.

He shot more threes and free throws in his second season. He is far from a complete prospect, as his offensive arsenal far outshines his defensive prowess, but the talent is simply there.

The Indiana Pacers head into the summer completely unsure of their roster next season. Bojan Bogdanovic was the primary scorer once Victor Oladipo went down last season. Now, Bojan is set to hit free agency and will likely sign a nice contract, whether with the Pacers or elsewhere.

The heart and soul of the team, Thaddeus Young, is also set to hit the market. Both point guards, Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, are free agents as well. One way or another, Indiana will be left with holes on the roster. Either way, they will need extra creators on offense to help carry the second unit.

The Pacers can go in many different directions in this year’s draft. Wing depth, point guard, and pure scorers can all make a huge impact on this team in the 2019-20 season. Picking outside of the lottery makes it tough to find well-rounded prospects. Jordan Poole might be the best option on the table when they are on the clock in the first round. Is he a good fit?

The good: Jordan Poole gets straight buckets

No matter how you slice it, you cannot deny that Jordan Poole is a great scorer. He can knock down shots from almost anywhere on the floor. Furthermore, he can get to the rim or shake defenders with relative ease.

He utilizes a deadly crossover and other dribble moves to blow by his man and find a shot. He shot 43.6 percent from the floor and 36.9 percent from deep last season.

Aside from being forced to shoot in late-clock situations, Poole is a pretty reliable shooter. He is excellent at using screens off-ball to get looks. Poole has a solid stroke and good bounce to get up over defenders.

At 6’5”, Poole is phenomenal at creating for himself and others. He handles the ball well to shimmy past his man and pull up for a jumper.

He is more than a shooter, though. He can drive to the rack and finish at the rim with both hands. Poole is creative at the basket and has soft touch.

If defenders come to help on Poole, he is more than capable of finding the open man. His low assist numbers (2.2 per game last season) are not an accurate depiction of his passing ability. He does a great job of finding the cutting man or swinging the ball outside. His teammates may not have hit all the shots, but Poole put them in position to score.

Jordan Poole is a playmaker on the offensive end of the floor. He’s a skilled weapon with great shooting potential. He needs to be more consistent, for sure, but his flashes are exciting. Scoring is hard to lose at the NBA level.

More from Pacers Draft

Shooters know how to score at any level, so that shouldn’t be a problem for Jordan Poole. I would be shocked if Poole was not the sixth man at the very least in the near future.

We’ve also seen just how crucial free throws are for the Pacers. There were too many times last season that free throws decided games. Poole knocked down over 83 percent of his freebies at Michigan, which should translate. After all, the free throw line is the same.

Poole is a plus athlete but is not elite. He displayed good bounce and finishing in transition, which is a huge bonus. He will not be blown out of the water by any means at the next level. As long as he continues to build on his dribble moves, he will find success.

The bad: A few mental errors

The flashes are wonderful for Poole. However, he has a lot of mental errors to improve upon. His shot selection could be better. He isn’t shy from pulling the trigger from deep. Good shooters are prone to launching as often as possible, but Poole is too gifted of a creator to settle for long shots. Over half of his shots last season came from beyond the arc. I would like to see him look to drive and find looks at the rim, whether they be for himself or his teammates.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Poole was lazy at times defensively in college. He was no stranger to ball-watching and letting his man get open. The same happens when Poole tries to guess and jump the passing lane, letting his man cut behind him. Anticipation can lead to steals, but it is much more likely to lead to easy buckets for the offense.

The defensive struggles extend beyond anticipation. Poole often fails to close out properly. He tends to sag and gives the shooter space or leave his feet.

He bites on pump fakes which opens up the shooting lane. Poole will need to revamp his defensive mentality to be successful on both ends.

People will try to tell you that the NBA doesn’t play defense, but don’t listen to them. Poole, like any other NBA player, will need to be able to contribute in all phases.

He is also a little slim for the NBA, hitting the scales at just 190 pounds at the NBA Combine. Bulking up to minimize the damage in the post.

Final verdict

Jordan Poole is a player that I like a lot. He has a very high ceiling if he can show consistency on both ends of the floor. He is one of the most skilled offensive players in this draft that can score from anywhere. He has not been praised much as a first-round talent, but he is worth the risk.

The Pacers may not have many shot creators next season depending on how free agency shakes out. Poole is a guy that I see as a bench scorer early on with the potential to be a starting off-ball guard.

If the Pacers move on from Darren Collison and slide Vic to the primary point guard, Poole very well could develop into the starting two-guard. We have looked at a variety of guards that the Pacers could take but Poole is my favorite as of now.

Next. The case against Rui Hachimura for the Pacers. dark

The Pacers will have options with Poole. He is not expected to go early by any means, and he would most likely be available after a trade back from 18. If Indiana wants to acquire extra picks or assets, a trade makes sense. Personally, I would take Poole at 18 with no hesitation.

I see a lot of promise in his offense that can mask some of the defensive mistakes. Being in an offense with a primary scorer (Oladipo) will ease the pressure on him as well. I’m all in.