Basketball

Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga Summer League Debut

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The Warriors helped kick off summer league hoops with the 3rd Annual California Classic taking place on August 3rd and 4th, with each of the four teams playing a game each day. The highly anticipated debut of Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga was set back a day as the team chose to hold Moody and Kuminga out of the Warriors first contest. Both Moody and Kuminga had strong first games in a Warriors uniform as they showcased why they were lottery picks and gave us a glimpse into what the Warriors future could be like.

Kuminga is relatively raw as a prospect, and he had his ups and downs in his first outing with the Warriors but overall I really liked what I saw from him. He finished with 18 points, 2 steals, and 1 block.

It may be different when he’s going up against actual NBA level defenders but he got into the paint with ease for most of the night and with his size, athleticism, and an improving handle, he should be able to put pressure on NBA defenses by getting to the rim. Kuminga got in the paint in both transition and in the half-court, and showed the ability to weave his way through traffic and finish through contact. When he sees an open lane to the cup he attacks fearlessly and does not shy away from contact if it’s there; if anything he welcomes the contact.

Kuminga isn’t a natural playmaker for others with the ball in his hands and it resulted in 6 turnovers. He showed a willingness to get others involved which is encouraging, and as the game slows down for him he should start making better reads. Lucky for him, he’ll get to learn from two of the best playmakers in the game in Draymond Green and Stephen Curry.

He struggled shooting the ball but that was honestly expected as he shot just 38% from the field in the G-League bubble last season. He knocked down 3 of his 4 attempts at the charity stripe which is a minuscule sample size but shooting touch at the line can often be an indicator of a player’s shooting potential- just something to keep an eye on throughout the Vegas Summer League.

Defensively Kuminga flashed his potential as a future defensive anchor. The Warriors used him some as a small ball center where he was matched up with the seven foot, 275 pound Omer Yurtseven, and Kuminga really battled with Yurtseven. Kuminga got physical with him, and at times he even looked like the stronger player. He also flashed the ability to switch and stay in front of smaller players which is a big part of the Warriors defensive scheme.

Kuminga was actively communicating with his teammates on the floor all night long and you could tell he has experience as a pro. His reaction time can be a little slow, and the game does seem to be moving too fast for him at times but that should get better with time.

Moses Moody had an equally as impressive night with 19 points, 7 rebounds, a pair of threes, and like Kuminga, his defense was impressive.

Moody flashed a strong handle, the ability to create, and although his shots off the bounce didn’t necessarily fall much, it is clearly something he works on and I think his potential as a shot maker is criminally underrated.

He was able to create opportunities for himself at the rim but his finishing ability is definitely still developing as it often feels like he’s just throwing up shots hoping they go in. However, he did have a pair of crafty contested finishes at the rim on the fast break which was nice to see.

The thing I was most impressed with Moody on offense was his knack for coming up with offensive rebounds; creating second chance opportunities and being able to finish them himself or find an open shooter as good as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson could be devastating for opposing defenses. Moody grabbed four offensive boards and by no means was it because of luck. He’s aggressive but patient attacking the glass and once he reads which direction the ball is going to go, he darts after it.

Defensively Moody showed us why he was considered an elite defensive prospect coming into the draft. His length bothers shooters and he’s really good off the ball as a team defender. He’s going to need to get stronger to deal with bigger players but I think he’ll eventually get to the point where he can switch 1-4 and I think from day one he’ll comfortably defend guards and most wings.

One of my favorite plays of the game came when Moody perfectly executed pick roll defense as the lone man in the weakside corner; Moody tagged the roller and got back out to his man on the catch out at the 3 point line, and was able to contain the drive attempt.

Moody reminds me a lot of Mikal Bridges and although I think Moody has higher shot making potential than Bridges, I love that Moody’s biggest impact is often in ways that don’t show up in the stat sheet.

All in all it was a successful first outing for the Warriors’ two lottery picks and it should be fun watching their development going forward.


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