The Warriors’ Young Guns
As mentioned earlier, the Warriors selected James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody with their three lottery picks over the last two seasons. However, it’s Jordan Poole, the 29th pick in the 2019 draft, who’s been the most impressive young player for this team this season.
Poole is 22 years old and is in his third season with Golden State.
He is averaging 16.4 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.1 rebounds while knocking down 92.2% of his free throws (best in the NBA). More importantly, he has been able to take some of the ball-handling duties away from Steph and has become the leader of the Warriors’ second unit.
Poole initially started the season as part of the starting lineup, but with the return of Klay Thompson, he had to adjust to his new role as 6th man. Jordan showed great maturity and poise when having his role changed, a sign of the Warriors’ unselfish culture coming to fruition.
He has also proven to have a great work ethic with his continuous improvement, going from averaging 12 points per game in his first two seasons to now having 16 points per game off of the bench.
After going 15-50 in the 2019-2020 season, the Warriors selected James Wiseman from the University of Memphis with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
His rookie numbers didn’t jump off of the page, only averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 39 games played. His intangibles however were apparent to all that watched. He is a seven-footer with great athleticism who can spread the floor and provide protection at the rim.
Wiseman hasn’t played since April 10th, 2021 due to a meniscus injury. He has faced several setbacks throughout his rehabilitation process, causing him to miss all 59 games played so far this season.
According to recent reports from Bob Meyers on 95.7 The Game, Wiseman played his first 5-on-5 scrimmage last Tuesday, February 15th, since his injury occurred last season. The Warriors are hopeful to have him back at some point this season, which could solve some of their recent issues with opposing team’s centers and defensive rebounding.
Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody were the Warriors’ two draft picks in last year’s NBA draft. Both players have shown signs of fitting into Golden States system, but only Kuminga has been able to make a legitimate role for himself in this year’s rotation.
So far this season, Kuminga is averaging 8 points and 2.8 rebounds with only 14.5 minutes being played per game. His role has continued to increase with injuries to veterans like Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, in his last five games played he is averaging 13.8 points and 4.2 rebounds on 26.5 minutes per game while shooting 59% from the field.
He scored 18 points on 72% shooting while grabbing 9 rebounds in what may have been his best game of the season, in a 117-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on February 12th.
Kuminga also showed his defensive versatility while guarding NBA veteran LeBron James for the majority of the game. There has been a number of comparisons with Kuminga and a young Kawhi Leonard with the San Antonio Spurs, who even though was young, played a big part in their success.
Moses Moody on the other hand has shown he needs a little more development before he can make the Warriors’ rotation. He is only averaging 3.2 points in 34 games played this season. However, he has shown his abilities in the NBA’s G-League. Moody is leading the league in scoring with 31.8 points per game while grabbing 6.3 rebounds.
Moody’s skillset does seem to fit how Golden State likes to play, a player who can knock down catch-and-shoot threes and consistently be in the right place defensively. He demonstrated this by knocking down a season-high six 3-pointers in the Warriors’ win over the Spurs in early February.
With this mix of veteran, All-Star talent, and young promising prospects, the Golden State Warriors are in a position to compete at a high level now and for years to come.