Ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ Game 1 matchup with the Denver Nuggets, All-Star guard Stephen Curry was upgraded to “probable” as he was ready to return after missing the last month with a foot injury.
This set the table for the Warriors’ Big 3 of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to take the floor together in a playoff game for the first time in 1,038 days, according to StatMuse. However, head coach Steve Kerr caught everyone by surprise when he announced that Curry would come off the bench in his return, presumably to tailor to his minutes restriction upon return from injury.
This was only the second time in the last 10 seasons that Curry came off the bench. Ironically enough, the last time was in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, when Curry was also easing himself back into the lineup following an injury. Any time the Warriors had an absence this season – particularly Curry and Thompson – it was third-year guard Jordan Poole who answered the call and Kerr rewarded the 22-year-old for his efforts.
Poole averaged 20.3 points, 4.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds on .438/.371/.931 shooting splits in 51 starts this season versus 13.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds on .480/.341/.903 shooting splits in 25 games as a reserve. His scoring impact has been huge for the Warriors and they needed his boost with Curry under limited playing time.