It has been an underwhelming introduction to the NBA for Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga. The two rookies have hardly touched the floor for the Golden State Warriors in the preseason and a tweaked knee from Kuminga could see him play even fewer minutes.
This should not be a total surprise. Steve Kerr hinted at limited minutes for the youngsters and it only makes sense the team would place an emphasis on building chemistry among the vets in order to maximize their chances of winning early in the season.
Moody seems to be okay with this, as well. He is used to being on stacked teams and is ready to embrace his role, however small it might be to begin. Still, Moody is looking to earn more minutes at some point. How can he do it?
Moses Moody has plenty of competition in the backcourt but the rookie can still earn consistent minutes for the Golden State Warriors this season.
Moody has the luxury of being a combo guard. He can realistically be slotted into either backcourt position and has the freakish wingspan needed to even play the forward spot in certain circumstances.
For the sake of keeping it simple, let us only look at the players Moody has to compete with in the backcourt rotation. Stephen Curry, of course. Klay Thompson, eventually. Jordan Poole, who seems to be solidifying his position as a starter. Damion Lee, Gary Payton and Mychal Mulder, three players who have experience with the team. Langston Galloway could be a darkhorse candidate, as well. Finally, Avery Bradley, the veteran guard who is currently taking up the final roster spot.
We can write off the potential to surpass Curry, Thompson and Poole in the depth chart. This leaves Lee, Payton, Mulder and Bradley as the remaining rivals — with really only Bradley posing a significant challenge to Moody’s ability to get on the floor.
Thankfully, for Moody at least, Bradley has not had a great start to the preseason. He has shot 4-of-10 on mostly wide-open looks and is an overall -3 in his two games with the team so far. Bradley has been sturdy defensively, however, and a high-IQ passer who understands spacing and positioning.
Bradley’s veteran knowledge will give him an advantage over Moody, who might be a more talented player at this point. Still, until Moody has a base level of understanding of the NBA game, Bradley is going to play ahead of him.
Soon, though, Moody should be looking to steal minutes from the vet. He is a more suitable athlete for the fast-paced game Golden State is running and is arguably a more potent shooter at this point. With strong physical attributes, Moody can replicate Bradley’s defense, too.
This process will take time. There is no guarantee Moody will insert himself into the rotation consistently by the end of his rookie season. But, overcoming growing pains and surpassing Bradley is the key to more minutes for the rookie.