The reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, competed in the California Classic over the past weekend, where Dubs fans got the chance to see Gui Santos and Moses Moody.
Summer League is a showcase for incoming rookies, players that are on the fringe of making an NBA roster, or young players looking to sharpen their skills before the start of the season. The Warriors have a fairly loaded summer league roster, as they carry two 2020 draftees, two 2021 draftees, and three 2022 draftees.
Although the Warriors went winless in three games during the California Classic, James Wiseman didn’t play, but he plans to at some point in the Las Vegas Summer League. Jonathan Kuminga is currently in the Congo, but he will join the team in Las Vegas. The rookies Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins are both out due to injuries, though Baldwin’s ankle may be cleared in time to play in Las Vegas, while Rollins remains out nursing a stress fracture in his foot.
Gui Santos (2022 NBA draft, pick 55)
Gui Santos is from Minas Belo Horizonte, in Brazil. The 6’8 small forward captured the hearts of Dub Nation with his 23-point outing in a 86-68 loss against the Sacramento Kings. Despite the loss, Santos was electric. He shot 7-13 from the field while grabbing six rebounds and swiping three steals. Santos also had six turnovers.
The second game of the California Classic did show why Santos needs a year in the G-League or overseas to improve on some aspects of his game. He scored just seven points on seven shots in a 100-77 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers. Santos also coughed up the ball four times against the Laker’s defense.
Santos ended the California Classic with a slash of 12 points, hitting 50% of his shots and dishing out five assists. He still has a turnover problem as he had three on the day, which brings his total up to 13 turnovers in three games. He will need to be more careful with the ball going forward.
It is clear that Santos has a ton of potential. There is certainly a lot to like about his overall game. I think his feel for the game will come as he matures, but he has the potential to be a really nice piece going forward for the Warriors. Santos’ finishing around the rim, as well as his excellent size and length (6’8 with a 7’0 wingspan), should make for a two-way monster as he grows as a basketball player. One of his most intriguing strengths is his ability to handle the ball. He may get a bit careless at times, but his handle, at his size, will make him an offensive weapon if he develops correctly.
Santos tends to force the issue when he drives. He does tend to drive into multiple defenders, which ends in a turnover or a tough shot. Santos likely will be utilized as a draft-and-stash player or a two-way player that sees most of his first season in the G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Moses Moody (2021 NBA draft, pick 14)
The former 14th overall pick struggled to find his offensive footing in the two games he played in for the California Classic. But his defensive production was what made him stand out.
Offensively, he left a lot to be desired as he shot an abysmal 30.7% from the field, and 18% from behind the three-point line. Moses Moody also had seven turnovers as well. He will need to be more decisive with the ball as he is primed for a bigger role next season. Keep in mind that it is a small sample size and he should play better in Las Vegas.
Defensively, Moody was very good. In two games, he rejected four shots and swiped three steals as well. Moody showed flashes of his overall potential last season. He looks to be a three-and-D type of player with his 7’1 wingspan. Moody also shot 36.4% from three last season. Playing next to Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, and Klay Thompson, he should get a ton of open looks. Look for Moody to have a stronger impact in Las Vegas.
Justinian Jessup (2020 NBA draft, pick 51)
Justinian Jessup was the Warrior’s 51st pick in the 2020 draft. He has spent the last two seasons in the NBL (National Basketball League) in Australia. He plays for the Illawarra Hawks, where he has averaged 13.3 points per game while shooting 43.1% from the field and 35.1% from three.
In last season’s summer league, he averaged 12.4 points per game, while shooting 42.9% from the field and from behind the three-point line.
In the California Classic this past weekend, Jessup averaged 8.3 points per game, while shooting 41.6% from the field and 23% from three.
Jessup hasn’t improved much since the Warriors drafted him back in 2020. It is difficult to see him earning a roster spot on the Warriors roster for this upcoming season because of his lack of improvement. He still has good size at 6’7, but he is not an athletic guard. Defensively he offers little to nothing since he is a slower guard. He still struggles to stay in front of guards and would have little impact at the NBA level because of this. Outside of his shooting, which hasn’t looked great in the California Classic, he doesn’t offer enough to warrant a roster spot on the Warriors for next season.
Not being able to see Baldwin, Rollins and Wiseman is definitely a bummer for the California Classic. A fully healthy Warriors Summer League squad would have been fun to watch.
At the very least, Baldwin and Wiseman should be cleared to play in Las Vegas. This will be Warriors fan’s first time seeing Baldwin Jr. suit up in a Warriors jersey, which is exciting in its own case, but seeing Wiseman also suit up will be a treat of its own.
Who to watch in Las Vegas
Of course, Kuminga, Wiseman, Santos, Moody, Jessup, and Baldwin Jr. are some names to keep an eye on while watching the Las Vegas Summer League, but the Warriors have a few other names as well.
Lester Quinones (Undrafted)
Lester Quinones just recently inked his name to a two-way player slot for the Warriors. He went to the University of Memphis and went undrafted in the 2022 NBA draft.
In the California Classic, he averaged 9.6 points per game while shooting 37% from the field. He will have to be more efficient from the field in Vegas if he wants to crack the rotation for the Warriors. On the bright side, the 6’5 guard did grab 4.6 rebounds a game.
Quinndary Weatherspoon (2019 NBA draft, pick 49)
Quinndary Weatherspoon was an intriguing addition to last year’s squad. He is a slashing guard that has torn up the G-League during his assignments. He also played a pivotal role in a win against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day last season.
He should get plenty of opportunities to shine under the bright lights of Las Vegas. His defensive tenacity makes him a good fit for a Warriors roster that just lost defensive specialist, Gary Payton II. Look for Weatherspoon to make some big plays in the summer league coming up this Friday.
The Warriors’ first game is on Friday at 8 p.m. against the New York Knicks on ESPN2.