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Moses Moody Takes Advantage of Opportunity

I’ll be the first to admit that I had high expectations for Moses Moody coming into this season. His run in the NBA summer league raised my eyebrows for the wrong reasons but it still looked like he had a chance to carve out a role for himself with a strong training camp and preseason showing. However, the 19-year-old out of Little Rock, Arkansas, struggled mightily to start the season and he found himself getting fewer minutes seemingly by the game.

However, the Warriors chose to send him down to get some run in the G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors and Moody found his rhythm. In nine games with Santa Cruz, Moody averaged 27.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game on 47/37/90 shooting splits.

And finally, it all came together on the big stage.

Moody Gets the Start

After having a huge outing in Austin on Sunday, Steve Kerr decided to bring up Moody for Golden State’s game on Monday night. In Kerr’s press conference prior to the game, he announced that Moody had earned his second start of the season.

This was a perfect opportunity for a young buck like Moody to get some serious playing time against one of the younger teams in the Association and Moody surely looked like he belonged.

In his second start of the season the rookie knocked down four of his seven shot attempts including three triples to total 11 points (tying his season-high), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 25 minutes of play. None of those numbers are earth-shattering but considering Moody came into the night shooting just 33.9% from the field and 14.7% from long distance, it was encouraging to see the ball fall through the hoop at a high rate and I’m sure his efficient night did wonders for his confidence.

Almost every one of Moody’s shot attempts came pretty wide open, and a lot of that was due to the abysmal defense of the juvenile Rockets, but you either hit shots or you don’t. Last night Moody hit them. He won’t play with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson forever, but when you’re playing next to those two you’re going to find yourself getting open looks regardless of the opponent.

The thing I liked the most last night was the poise that Moody was playing with. He didn’t look rushed or in a hurry out there like he often did earlier in the season. He didn’t get a ton of touches but he took advantage of the ones that he got and he looked comfortable on the defensive side of the ball as well.

On Moody’s lone block of the game, he picked up the ball in transition and perfectly mirrored Rocket’s forward Jae’Sean Tate without fouling as he drove to the hoop and timed the block perfectly. It was textbook on-ball defense and it was another example of the in-season strides Moody has made. He didn’t panic as a bulkier, stronger player attacked him on the break, he didn’t reach, he didn’t swing at the ball as he went for the block, he simply played Tate straight up and got the block.

Moody’s defensive rotations were on point for most of the night and early on he was flirting with putting on a defensive clinic. The awareness he displayed on the defensive side of the floor was a substantial improvement from early in the season. From guarding the ball to rotating perfectly and forcing turnovers, Moody’s defensive potential was on full display. That’s not to say he didn’t make any mistakes but all one can really ask from their young players is improvement and Moody looks to be on the right track.

There was nothing flashy about Moody’s stat line last night, but there’s nothing flashy in his game either and that’s part of why his quiet yet efficient night should be encouraging for the Warriors moving forward. He’s more Andrew Wiggins than he is Draymond Green. He’s not going to jump out at the average fan, but when you peep the box score after the game, you’re likely going to notice him. While that hasn’t necessarily been the case very often this season, I have a hunch that’s going to become the norm for him at some point in the near future.

Is A Bigger Role on the Way?

This should be taken with a grain of salt but Kerr did say Moody could whittle himself into more of a role as the season moves forward.

The language that Kerr uses here is a bit wishy-washy but he’s leaving the door open for Moody to get more chances similar to last night in the coming months.

Kerr also mentioned that part of the reason Moody got the start was that he wanted shooting and defensive versatility on the floor. Moody provided both of those things last night for Dub Nation. Both of those skills are a huge reason why Moody was a lottery pick in the first place. If he can contribute like he did last night on a consistent basis, not only will he possibly find a role for himself down the stretch of this season, but he’ll have an extremely promising NBA career ahead of him.

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