Moody continues growth with latest G League explosion

Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody

Right. On. Schedule.

That's how Steve Kerr described the progress of Warriors rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody after last Thursday's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. With Steph Curry and Draymond Green sitting out the game in New Orleans, Kerr was able to give the 19-year-olds valuable late-game minutes. That's a scenario that will be few and far between for the rookies this season.

Warriors fans have been thrilled by Kuminga's quick development -- the 6-foot-8 wing seems to make a handful of impressive plays every time he steps on an NBA court. However, Moody's limited NBA minutes have left his critics wondering if the Arkansas product is the NBA-ready prospect he was billed to be when Golden State drafted him with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

But the Warriors have been adamant Moody is improving behind the scenes. Buried on the bench of the NBA's best team, Kuminga and Moody don't get many NBA opportunities to show their growth. Instead, the bulk of their on-court growth takes place either in practice or with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

While Moody's NBA performances have been hit-and-miss, the young guard has played well of late in G League and showed his development is moving along at the proper pace Monday when he poured in 37 points during the Sea Dubs' win over the Memphis Hustle.

That 37-point performance comes after Moody dropped 31 points for Santa Cruz last Friday in a win over the Oklahoma City Blue. In seven G League games, Moody now is averaging 28.5 points per game while shooting 33.8 percent from 3-point range.


That Moody's two best G League performances have come after his 10-point, five-rebound game against the Pelicans -- the second double-digit outing in his NBA career -- shows the progress the Warriors have claimed they are seeing in the background is for real.

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While most lottery picks are given consistent playing time for teams looking to turn things around, Moody and Kuminga have found themselves on the team with the NBA's best record. While that doesn't come with the playing time often afforded to highly-touted draft picks, it does come with the opportunity to learn from surefire Hall of Famers in Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“Even when I don’t play, there is something I learn,” Kuminga said after the loss to the Pelicans. “When I’m doing something wrong, I always have Draymond, Andre, Steph — anybody that has way more experience than me — coming up to me and telling me what I need to get better.

"If I went to a team where I was going to have to shoot every ball, I wasn’t really going to learn a lot.”

So, Kuminga and Moody will continue to grind in the background as the Warriors' title chase hits a new gear after Thompson's triumphant return. Kuminga, who has shown flashes for star potential early on, could very well play a vital role come playoff time. Given the stacked wing rotation the Warriors now have, it's less likely that Moody finds his way to key minutes this season.

But that doesn't mean he isn't growing into a player the Warriors expect to be one of the faces of the next era of Golden State basketball. He's just doing so away from the bright NBA lights. But progress is progress.

“Moody’s competitive,” Kerr said after the game vs. the Pelicans. “He knows how to play. I love how he attacked the rim. He defended like crazy, and did a really good job down the stretch. He has a really bright future.”

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