Why this summer is critical for Warriors wing Moses Moody’s development

SAN FRANCISCO – Moses Moody couldn’t help but to smile when asked about some of his former teammates, like Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr., reportedly securing the bag elsewhere in free agency.

“When I see those guys getting paid, I’m happy to see it,” he said. “We went through it together and to see those guys get paid and do good in their careers is really inspirational.”

But the Little Rock, Arkansas, product also acknowledged how those free agency moves will impact his role next season.

The imminent signing of Donte DiVincenzo takes some pressure off Moody to bridge the gap left by Payton. Still, Moody, one of the Warriors’ two 2021 lottery picks, is among the pool of young, future foundational pieces who’ll be pushing for more playing time next season. That’s why this summer will be critical for the 20-year-old’s development.

Two weeks after being showered in love while parading down Market Street with his teammates, Moody is already back at Chase Center, burnishing his skills alongside a roster of unproven talent eager to make a lasting impression on the Warriors’ front office and coaching staff.

With Jonathan Kuminga still back home in the Congo – he’s expected to join the team later this month in Las Vegas – and James Wiseman working his way back from a knee injury that caused him to miss all of last season, Moody is by far the most experience player for the Warriors at the California Classic this weekend. He’s ready for the added responsibility of being a leader of the summer squad.

“When I’m on the floor, we’re trying to win,” Moody said. “So if I need to tell somebody where they need to be, and that’s gonna be the best chance of winning, I’m going to do that. I’m gonna try to help guys out, I know the system, I know how we play and they might not. So I’m obviously going to talk to them.”

Moody was praised by the coaching staff last season for his poise and maturity, despite being the ripe age of 19 up until the NBA Finals. While his playing time was spotty at times, Moody showed flashes of his potential. A highlight of his rookie campaign was his 30-point performance that included five 3-pointers in a loss to the Denver Nuggets March 7.

Moody averaged 4.4 points on 43.7% shooting in 52 games heading into the playoffs. His role lessened in the postseason as coach Steve Kerr shrank his rotation and put more veterans on the floor. Still, Moody managed to get some experience playing meaningful postseason minutes, which included being a big part in the Warriors’ near 29-point comeback in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

Though he played only 10 minutes in the NBA Finals, the opportunity to be part of a championship-winning team and learn from veterans like Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala will pay dividends for his future.

Moody, the No. 14 pick in last year’s draft, said he’s working on every aspect of his game this summer. That includes his spot-up shooting, scoring off the catch and dribble and his on-and-off the ball defense. He also wants to push the ball in transition better and improve his quick decision-making.

“I obviously want to put focus on getting better and getting prepared for next year,” he said, “and what better way is there to get better than to be in live games with real reps and real fans.

“Given the opportunity and all that, I’m gonna keep my head down and work on my craft, do what I do. And the results and accolades and accomplishments, all that will probably come along with as long as I got my head down, doing what I need to do.”

Contributed by local news sources

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