Moody, Kuminga Key to Warriors’ Pursuit of 5th Title in 10 Seasons


The Warriors have abandoned nearly every draft pick they have made in the last seven years — except Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga.

Last season, the Warriors’ average age was 26.6, which was 13th oldest in the league. General manager Mike Dunleavy has mentioned in interviews that the team did not have enough of a veteran presence in the locker room last season. The front office corrected this by acquiring Chris Paul, Cory Joseph and Dario Saric.

In trades, they let go of Jordan Poole, Patrick Baldwin and Ryan Rollins. All three of these players were 23 or younger. Last season, James Wiseman was traded for Gary Payton II. Moody and Kuminga are the final representatives of the Warriors’ recent “Two Timelines” plan. They have the responsibility of being important contributors to a championship team entering their final years together.

The additions from this offseason are the first signal that the two young wings are critical to the Warriors’ success. Paul and Joseph are two traditional point guards, and Saric is a big. Rookies Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis are a guard and a big, respectively. Donte DiVincenzo and Anthony Lamb, two players Moody and Kuminga had to compete against for minutes, are off the team.

After Andrew Wiggins, Moody and Kuminga are the two players that provide versatility at the wing position. It’s also the reason why the Warriors could be looking at a wing to fill out the 14th roster spot.

Both Moody and Kuminga had a frustrating year, but there is a lot to be optimistic about for them in this upcoming season. They are talented and have enough experience now to be impactful in the regular season and playoffs.

Positional Value

With the direction the NBA has been moving in the last half decade, wing depth is one of the most important things to have on a team. There’s a reason why OG Anunoby was overvalued by Toronto during the trade deadline, and a player like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is essential to win a championship. Moody and Kuminga possess desirable skills at the wing position. Moses has the length and shooting ability to be in any NBA rotation. He also has the basketball IQ and personality to fit right in with the Warriors’ core, as he’s shown in the last two playoff runs.

In contrast, Kuminga has the size, athleticism and sheer force that the Warriors have lacked in their wing rotation. Kerr noticed his strength on the defensive end this past offseason. Kuminga also exudes some of the confidence and bravado of a budding star.

He just has to figure out how to become a star in his own role.

When Wiggins was out during the final two months of the season, Kuminga averaged 12.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 24.6 minutes per game. He also shot 54.4% FG and 42.2% from three. This was the longest and most impressive stretch of either Moody and Kuminga’s career thus far. If Kuminga is able to mirror that production, he’ll be finding himself with a lot more playing time.

Both players have the skills that teams seek every year, whether in the draft or free agency. The Warriors drafted both of them in the lottery in 2021. The last time they took multiple players in the same draft that ended up becoming important contributors was in 2012.

That year they drafted Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli, who were all contributors in the 2015 title run. Moody and Kuminga’s development this year can substantially dictate the Warriors’ ceiling. Another season like last year for them would confirm all of the doubts about the coaching staff’s inability to develop their draft picks.

Last Season’s Frustrations

Part of the reason why the Warriors failed to reach their potential last year was because of Moody and Kuminga’s stagnant development. Both had their struggles of staying in the rotation. Kerr gets a lot of blame for this because he has a short fuse when it comes to young players. He was always willing to quickly take Moody or Kuminga out of the game for missing a defensive rotation or committing a turnover.

Kerr could not find the right balance of punishment for poor play and rewarding good plays. Kuminga especially looked visibly irritated throughout the season with this concept. It got so bad that he and his agent expressed frustration with his role after the season, especially after barely playing at all during the playoffs.

With Moody, he at least ended this season being a main player in the rotation after playing well in Game 3 against Sacramento. He got to fill a role during the Lakers series as well. After a full offseason of work, Moody and Kuminga are ready to take that next step for the Warriors.

If it’s not this season for them, it might have to be with another team. Both players will be restricted free agents in 2025. If they and the team can’t figure out rotation spots for them, then the front office will most likely look to move them before being forced to extending their contracts.

This Year’s Upside

As we said at the top, the Warriors’ average age last year was 26.6. That number raises to 28.3 with what they have now. That would have been the fourth oldest last season.

A team full of veterans fundamentally help Moody and Kuminga. They will have a lot of opportunity on a team filled with veterans who will take plenty of games off. The second unit isn’t going to be run by Poole and Wiseman like last year. Paul, Joseph and Saric will be a much better fit with them, skillset and experience wise. Kuminga’s athleticism and size will compliment Saric’s ability to stretch the floor as a five.

Paul will make Moody and Kuminga’s lives easier on the offensive end as well. Aside from being one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, he will also be an on-court coach. He’ll be able to put them in the right spots every possession, and once they develop chemistry, it’ll be a seamless fit.

With a more balanced roster around them, Moody and Kuminga will be able to fit into more lineups. There was a log jam at the off-guard and wing position at various points last year. That combined with Kerr’s strict coaching created a lot of difficult moments throughout the season. The young duo works way too hard to be denied in a critical season for the Warriors.

As the roster is constructed right now, one can envision how the rotation might be rounded out. Kerr won’t have to try and piece a competent lineup this time around. The two young wings have no choice but to buy into what the Warriors are trying to do. Playing well and committing to the system is undoubtedly get them paid and more recognition around the league.

If they are able to lock in, they’ll have one of the deepest rosters in the league and will give the Warriors a chance to win five championships in ten seasons.

About Christian Oblena

Born in San Francisco, raised in the East Bay, lifelong Bay Area sports fan. Here to give my own opinions on everything Dubs.

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