With every game, it’s becoming more obvious that the Golden State Warriors won the Chris Paul-Jordan Poole trade. They dealt away a young player with a bloated four-year, $128 million contract for an old player with an expiring one. Advantage in the long run: Golden State. In the short run, the deal has been problematic for the Warriors and the Washington Wizards.

Paul and Poole have struggled. For Paul, this has been a continuation of last year’s sharp decline. He’s averaging a career-worst in points per game (9.6), field goal percentage (40.0), player efficiency rating (15.7), value-over-replacement player rating (0.5), and win shares (1.4). Poole’s scoring average (17.7) doesn’t tell the complete story. Meanwhile, not only is Poole shooting 39.5 from the field, but he also owns the NBA’s lowest plus-minus (-199).

It’s worth noting Paul and Poole are adjusting to different roles. That takes patience from each organization. If you’re looking for an upside, the Warriors have more reason for optimism.

Golden State (7-9) brought in Paul to stabilize their offense and improve their second unit. One of the Warriors’ problems last season was turnovers (16.0, second-most in the league). Even at 38, Paul is careful with the basketball. He is averaging a career-low in turnovers (1.2) and has helped his new team improve to 14.7 turnovers per game, 19th in the league. When Golden State is at full strength, this should give Steve Kerr more playmaking options to go along with Steph Curry and Draymond Green.

Unfortunately, Paul’s limitations are exposed when he’s on the court. Paul is a future Hall of Famer and the league’s best small point guard since Detriot Pistons’ great Isiah Thomas. The 6-foot Paul had previously overcome his stature with anticipation and quickness. Now, his size is a liability. This season, he has the worst defensive rating of his career. That puts more pressure on a Warriors offense that has surprisingly struggled to shoot and score. It’s still early, and things could change dramatically by the All-Star break in February, but so far Paul has been a disappointment.

Paul’s frustrations might be reaching its apex. On Thanksgiving Eve, he was ejected by his old nemesis referee Scott Foster in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. 

Paul’s woes are easily explainable. He’s a 19-year veteran in a young man’s league. Poole’s fall from grace is more of a conundrum. He went from a rising star on an NBA championship team to a player who was infamously punched in the face by Green and dealt away less than a year after getting a new contract. It’s one of the quickest reversals of fortunate in recent NBA history.

Poole didn’t arrive in Washington (2-12) with high expectations, but everyone predicted that he would put up points. In basketball, even a horrible team has a leading scorer. What has been surprising is that Poole isn’t even the Wizards’ top bucket-getter. Kyle Kuzma (23.7 points per game on 48.2 percent shooting) has been dramatically better. And as bad as Paul has been on the defensive end, Poole has the league’s 10th-worst defensive rating. Poole’s poor play has made him a punchline with numerous odd moments, including showing off even when he misses shots.

Poole’s stay in Washington may be short. There are reports that the  24-year-old could be traded again. With his age and championship experience, he does have value. If a team is willing to take on the remaining three years of his contract, Poole could be a solid contributor to a playoff team.

Again, perhaps Paul and Poole will improve down the stretch. But right now, both are experiencing a season to forget.

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant.