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The Golden State Warriors came away from the 2021 NBA Draft thinking they struck gold. In the first round alone, the Warriors landed G League Ignite standout Jonathan Kuminga and star Arkansas shooting guard Moses Moody, both of whom were expected to contribute right away off the bench.

But that hasn’t exactly played out through six games.

Neither draft pick has seen much action early in the season, and the Warriors just made a curious move that may have admitted to two grave mistakes.

Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody haven’t contributed much to the Warriors

Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody aren't ready to contribute to the Warriors just yet.
Golden State Warriors rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody | Jose Carlos Fajardo/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Golden State has prided itself on building organically through the draft. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all heard their names called by the Warriors on draft night, and they’ve never suited up for any other NBA team.

The Warriors figured they landed two more franchise cornerstones in the 2021 draft in Kuminga (No. 7 overall) and Moody (No. 14 overall). Kuminga skipped college to play for the G League Ignite, where he quickly became a top draft prospect. The athletic forward averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in the G League last year.

Moody came out of Arkansas after a freshman year in which he scored 16.8 points per game on 42.7% shooting. He was named to the All-SEC First Team and won the SEC’s Freshman of the Year award.

But despite their high expectations entering the NBA, Kuminga and Moody haven’t shown much for the Warriors. Kuminga has only appeared in one game because of a knee injury he suffered in the preseason, but he only scored three points in six minutes off the bench. Moody has appeared in four games for Golden State, but he’s only scored eight total points on 30% shooting.

Warriors assign Kuminga and Moody to the G League

After slow starts from their first-round draft picks to the season, the Warriors announced on Tuesday night that Kuminga and Moody have been assigned to the G League to play with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Head coach Steve Kerr said this could be a pattern all season long for both rookies.

“There will be plenty of nights where we’re off and in town in the Bay, and Santa Cruz has a game, and there will be plenty of nights where our young guys will go down and play,” Kerr said.

Considering Kuminga missed a few weeks with his knee injury, the Warriors want to give him as many reps as possible before ramping up his minutes in the NBA.

“He needs to scrimmage badly,” Kerr said of Kuminga. “He is a young guy who just missed three weeks of training camp. It is not ideal, so he needs to play. He scrimmaged today. He was really good — his physicality, length, speed. It’s all really prominent, especially on the defensive end. It’s all really impressive.”

Could Golden State be admitting to two epic draft mistakes?

It makes sense for the Warriors to want their 19-year-old rookies to play as much as possible early on. Neither player seems to have a role carved out in the current lineup, so the G League would be the only place where they could see those reps.

But elsewhere around the league, first-round rookies are playing valuable minutes at the NBA level. Almost every other top-14 pick is either starting or playing big minutes off the bench for their respective teams, but Kuminga and Moody are being sent down to the G League.

The Warriors were originally thrilled with their draft haul this summer, but it’s possible they struck out in epic fashion.

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