One of the Golden State Warriors’ most important decisions over the past summer was to keep their draft picks and develop rookies over the course of the season. So far, that decision is paying dividends for the organization.
The Warriors were fortunate to have two lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. They selected Jonathan Kuminga with the seventh overall pick and Moses Moody with the fourteenth overall pick. Having two lottery picks is a huge deal, especially in a strong draft class like the 2021 class. The last time the Warriors had two lottery picks was back in 2001 when they selected Jason Richardson with the fifth overall pick and Troy Murphy with the fourteenth overall pick.
They could have easily packaged the two lottery picks, last year’s second overall pick, James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins for a bonafide star, but the Warriors chose to hold on to all of their assets. It has paid off big time, as they own the best record in the NBA without Klay Thompson or James Wiseman.
Andrew Wiggins should be an all-star this season as he has had the most efficient season of his career, and his jumper has come along for the ride as he is shooting 42.5% from three. Jordan Poole has filled in nicely for Klay Thompson as he is scoring 18 points a game. Stephen Curry is Stephen Curry and Draymond Green is clearly the Defensive Player of the Year. Kevon looney has been amazing on the defensive end, and offensively he continues to set bone-shattering screens to get shooters open. Gary Payton II has become a fan-favorite with his ferocious defense and his high-flying dunks. But he has shown strides of his three and D potential. Moses Moody has had a tough go since he is struggling to shoot the ball. Jonathan Kuminga has been the most surprising player for the Warriors thus far. In limited play, he has played excellent defense, and he has put his athleticism on display with some highlight dunks. Most pegged Kuminga as a huge project player, but he is definitely ahead of schedule as the Warriors look to contend this season. Wiseman and Klay are making strides to come back as early as January as well.
But how good could the pair of rookies be in the future? Could a trio of Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and James Wiseman set up the second dynasty in the future for the Warriors?
With the trio of lottery picks learning from three all-time players, they could each become something special. Many have written Wiseman off so early, but he has yet to even play this season. Even though they are just workout videos, he looks very good. He has put on more muscle and is working diligently with the Warriors coaching staff to develop an inside game. One of the main concerns with Wiseman is his durability. As long as he can stay healthy, he will be a star in the NBA. He carries all of the tools to become a very special player. His athletic ability, paired with his decent jumper make him an inside-outside threat. Wiseman’s biggest weakness is his rebounding. He needs to rebound at a higher rate, as he grabbed just 6 rebounds a game last season. Defensively, I think he will be fine since he is learning from Draymond Green. Wiseman has just 39 games under his belt, let him get some more time before labeling him a bust.
Moses Moody has struggled to shoot the ball early on in the season. He is shooting just 15% from three this season. With the limited, and sporadic playtime, it’s very difficult to catch a rhythm as a shooter. But on the defensive side, he looks very good. He moves nicely on the perimeter, and he uses his length well to deflect passes and block shots. I think Moody will be very good down the road. In the G-League, the Arkansas product scores 24 points on 43% from the field, 33% from three, while grabbing 6 rebounds and nabbing 2 steals a game. Moody will be a welcome addition to the Warriors rotation at some point. I think he could be an integral part of the rotation for the Warriors by next season. Moody’s struggles will pass, he will be fine when he gets more time on the floor.
Jonathan Kuminga is my personal favorite out of the three. Many, including myself, thought he was a project player that would spend a majority of the season in the G-League. But I was wrong, he was way more developed than anyone thought. His offensive game is developing more every day. His finishing abilities are impressive, and his ball-handling is more advanced than I originally thought. In his first 13 games this season, Kumiga shot an abysmal 9% from three. But he turned it around in December. In 10 games he shot 41% from three, bringing his season percentage to 29%. Even though his season percentage is nothing to write home about, his progression as a shooter is a very welcome sight for the Warriors. Kuminga on the defensive end is a whole other story. His play on the defensive end was a huge surprise to me. His overall defensive IQ is crazy for a 19-year-old kid. He flies around deflecting passes, blocking shots, and also being able to play the big as well. He is listed at 6’7, so being able to play the big is huge as the Warriors’ size is not a strength. He also boxes out aggressively which is a great sign as well. As long as Kuminga continues to develop, he’s going to be a superstar.
The Warriors’ future looks to be in good hands. But Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are far from done. As long as the trio of lottery picks continues to learn from the current big 3, the sky is the limit for this team. Retaining Jordan Poole will also be huge as well. The Warriors have done a good job of drafting in recent seasons, with the exception of Alen Smailagić. With Klay Thompson’s return around the corner, the Warriors are back, baby.