Rotation absence proves Golden State Warriors should have traded young wing

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors
New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Moses Moody's inconsistent playing opportunity took another turn on Saturday night, with the third-year wing left out of the Golden State Warriors' rotation in their 113-112 win over the Phoenix Suns at Chase Center.

Moody was a victim of the return of Gary Payton II against the Suns, having averaged nearly 18 minutes in three games since his own return from a calf strain against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

Moses Moody's benching against the Phoenix Suns proves the Golden State Warriors should have traded him before the deadline

While Payton's place over Moody may not come as a surprise, Kerr's decision to play Lester Quinones over the former lottery pick certainly drew the attention of fans. The two-way contracted guard played over 19 minutes off the bench, finishing with six points and three rebounds.

Kerr's decision to go to a four-guard lineup in both halves was notable, and says a lot about Moody's chances of getting back into the rotation as Golden State work back to full health after a spate of injuries.

With Chris Paul still to come back and expected to play 20+ minutes, it's difficult to see where Moody will earn his spot back. He's too good to be earning DNP's, yet that appears the reality unless injuries hit or the team delves into another poor stretch of form.

It's easy to forget that Moody had back-to-back 21-point games before his untimely injury. That seemed like his clear runway to finally earn a regular rotation opportunity, only for it to be lost through no fault of his own.

It must also be hard to watch Jonathan Kuminga thrive as he has over the last month, with the third-year pair so often linked together as players whose opportunity heavily fluctuated. Kuminga has broken free into a starring role, while Moody remains stapled to the bench.

It's further proof that Moody should have been traded at the deadline, for his own benefit more so than the franchise's. He's eligible for a contract extension in the offseason, and failing that will be a free agent in 2025. This is the time where, like Kuminga, Moody should be trying to grow the length and value of his next deal.

Yes the franchise should absolutely do what's best for them first and foremost, but at some point you've got to release a talented player from the shackles and allow him to explore his potential in a situation that will provide the opportunity to do so.