The Golden State Warriors’ Handling of Moses Moody Proves They Have Mastered the Art of Roster-Building

The Golden State Warriors are becoming well-versed in the art of roster-building for the future while still winning in the present. That’s vital, given where the team’s current core find themselves in their current career arcs.

The Dubs remain somewhat reliant on Stephen Curry’s brilliance. They’re hopeful that Klay Thompson can rediscover his All-NBA form as he continues his comeback. Meanwhile, Draymond Green’s two-way value still serves as a heartbeat. However, all three players are likely exiting their primes. The Warriors need to bridge the gap, and they’ve done so excellently.

The development of young talents such as Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga have been instrumental to the team’s current success. Andrew Wiggins has surprisingly become an All-Star in the Bay Area. Each of those guys can serve as a building block for Golden State in the post-Curry era. But they aren’t alone.

It looks as though the Warriors have done it again with Moses Moody.

The Warriors selected Moses Moody with the No. 14 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft

Armed with two first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Warriors could have tried to package both selections in an effort to acquire another impact player. Instead, the Dubs kept their picks with an for the future.

Golden State selected Kuminga, a G League product, with the No. 7 overall pick. Seven spots later, the Warriors took Arkansas product Moses Moody. Both guys were upside picks, but Moody looked like an NBA-ready talent ready to help the Dubs in a more immediate sense.

Moody flashed tremendous three-level scoring ability during the Summer League. He scored off the dribble, knocked down open 3-pointers, and showed some nifty finishing around the rim. Though the former Razorbacks star didn’t do much playmaking, he seemed to have the kind of touch the Warriors needed.

Golden State began the 2021-22 campaign with Thompson on the sidelines. Moody looked like the kind of player capable of shouldering some of the scoring and shot-creation in his stead.

However, the Warriors decided pretty early that Moody would spend some time in the G League. That choice has seemingly paid big dividends.

Moody has taken the Jordan Poole route by dominating in the G League

Jordan Poole has made a significant leap in his third season. That jump began in earnest when the Warriors sent Poole to the G League for about a month last February.

Poole found his confidence with the Santa Cruz Warriors. He averaged 22.4 points in 11 games and made gains as a guy capable of creating separation at the point of attack and scoring around the rim and on the perimeter. When he returned to the Dubs, he averaged 14.4 points over his final 35 games.

Could the same thing happen with Moses Moody?

Moody has played nine games with Santa Cruz. He averaged a whopping 27.4 points in those contests, including a 37-point outburst earlier this month. The 19-year-old also proved himself capable on the glass, averaging 6.2 boards.

The Warriors want to give their young guys the NBA experience they need to develop. But they also need to make sure the likes of Moody do not waste away on the bench. In short, Golden State has used the G League to the fullest extent. It’s become an invaluable tool in the franchise’s quest to prepare for the post-Stephen Curry era.

A rotation staple going forward?

Golden State Warriors rookie Moses Moody looks to pass during an NBA game against the Houston Rockets
Moses Moody #4 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles the ball toward the basket as Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets defends during a game on January 31, 2022 | Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Warriors recalled Moody from Santa Cruz on Monday, and head coach Steve Kerr wasted little time giving the rookie trial by fire.

Moody started in a win over the Houston Rockets, scoring 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting (including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc) in just under 25 minutes of action. He showed why he’s capable of sticking in the Dubs rotation.

On the Warriors’ first scoring possession, Moody set a down-screen for Curry. He immediately flashed to the line and knocked down an open 3-pointer when the help defense trailed Steph into the lane. Indeed, Moody showed a willingness to screen off the ball, a necessity in Golden State’s offense, and a decent idea of the spacing.

Can Moody carve out increased minutes and give the Warriors an extra scoring presence going forward?

As Draymond Green said earlier in the season, guys like Moody and Kuminga could well play a role in the Dubs’ championship pursuit. Kerr seems committed to testing Moody and seeing whether his success in the G League translates to NBA action. Regardless, the Warriors understand their needs and how to allot time to young players.

Whereas the Dubs deemed Kuminga’s raw athleticism and defensive abilities necessary from an early onset, they felt Moody needed more seasoning. Time will tell just how much Moody has grown. But judging by his G League explosions and Kerr’s willingness to give him minutes going forward, he figures to play an important role for the Warriors both at present and especially in the years to come.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.

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