Increased roster depth and an improved bench unit has been one of the major positives in the Golden State Warriors season to date, often causing rotation headaches for head coach Steve Kerr.
In a stark contrast to the same point last season, the Warriors actually possess productive young players capable of playing significant roles within a veteran-savvy squad. Instead, it’s those veteran players, minus Stephen Curry, that are largely at fault for the team’s three-straight losses.
The Golden State Warriors have three young players who each deserve more playing time within Steve Kerr’s rotation.
In a recent article for Bleacher Report, writer Mo Dakhil identified Golden State wing Moses Moody as one of five young players across the league that need more minutes.
"“At the current moment, Moody is splitting minutes with Gary Payton II, and their numbers are eerily similar. It is the Spiderman pointing meme at this point. The big difference is age, with Moody being 10 years younger. It might be time to invest more time into Moody, with Payton as the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option,” Dakhil wrote."
Moody’s minutes have jumped from 13 to 17.1 so far this season, but it’s easy to argue that he should be playing more. The former 14th overall pick is averaging 6.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and over one steal per game, and holds an exceptional net rating of +10.
Yet Moody might not be the young Warrior who most deserves more minutes, with fellow third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga and rookie big man Trayce Jackson-Davis also staking their claim for increased roles.
Kuminga may not have been as dynamic as what we saw in the preseason, but he’s still taking on a more advanced offensive role. Despite averaging over two points more than last season, and holding a net rating of +5.2, the 21-year-old is actually averaging less minutes than in 2022-23.
Jackson-Davis has a less defined role in the rotation, yet has nonetheless impressed in his limited minutes. The Warriors are +41 in Jackson-Davis’ 62 minutes so far this season, leaving fans clamouring for the 23-year-old to play more.
Even Golden State’s other rookie, Brandin Podziemski, is pushing for minutes behind the hall-of-fame backcourt trio of Curry, Klay Thompson and Chris Paul. The 19th overall pick had eight points in less than 90 seconds against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, leading what was a near-stunning late comeback from the home team.
"“We’ve seen that Brandin and Trayce are ready to contribute…We have to make the decision if we want to get them out there more, Kerr said after the Timberwolves loss. I’d love to, it’s tricky because we’ve got a lot of people, we’re already playing 10 without those guys.”"
While it may be hard for Podziemski given the calibre of players in front of him, Kerr could certainly do with seeing more of what Moody, Kuminga and Jackson-Davis have to offer. It’s sort of ironic that after an offseason where they dove more into their championship core, the Warriors now have younger players ready to take on greater opportunity and responsibility.