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How Wiseman, Warriors’ young core played in summer league

Everybody deserves some summer R & R right now, especially the NBA champions. The regular season is long gone. So are the playoffs, and the Warriors’ latest title now is in the rearview mirror. 

The last phase of games was the 2022 NBA Summer League, which ended for Golden State on Sunday in Las Vegas with an 87-77 loss to the Washington Wizards. 

Both of the Warriors’ top draft picks, Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins, weren’t able to participate in summer league games. The Warriors are taking the long route with Baldwin, putting him through drills but keeping him out of game action for now until his ankle, which he dislocated at the start of his senior season in high school, is fully recovered. Rollins currently has a boot on his right leg after his physical showed a stress fracture in his right foot, but everything has been deemed as “precautionary” with the former Toledo guard.

Gui Santos, the Warriors’ final pick in this year’s draft, did show some offensive upside. The 20-year-old Brazilian scored 23 points in his first summer league game, and in seven games between the California Classic and Las Vegas, Santos averaged 10.9 points per game and shot 38 percent from 3-point range. 

In reality, the summer belonged to the Warriors’ future Big Three in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the franchise’s top picks from the 2020 and 2021 draft. Now that summer league is all wrapped up, let’s take a look at how all three performed, starting with Wiseman’s long-awaited return. 

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James Wiseman, C

The first number to know when talking about Wiseman’s summer league performance is four.

Wiseman played three games in college. He played three G League games last season before his surgically-repaired knee began swelling, shutting him down for the rest of the season. In Las Vegas, Wiseman played four straight games with zero setbacks. That’s a win in its own right. 

Over his four games played, Wiseman averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while playing just under 20 minutes per game. That’s how much he played Sunday, in three quarters. The 7-footer also averaged 2.0 blocks per game and showcased his two-way ability as a disruptor on both sides of the ball with an eye-opening sequence at the end of the first half in his final game of the summer. 

As the summer went on, Wiseman only got better, and Warriors coach Jama Mahlalela thought the 21-year-old saved his best for last. 

“It just bodes well for the rest of his summer,” Mahlalela said Sunday night. “He can now do development work and not do rehab work. That’s a fundamentally different thing for him and we’re just as a coaching staff and organization excited for that process and for him to learn and grow and come into training camp a different player, because he’s actually had a summer where he can work.”

Jonathan Kuminga, F

Kuminga’s first game this summer was a disappointment, one that even had Draymond Green shaking his head. The 19-year-old looked disengaged, frustrated and had bad body language while struggling on the floor and scoring only four points. 

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At the same time, he had just come off celebrating a championship, went home to the Congo for the first time in eight years and was supposed to compete for his national team before visa complications got in the way. Following that slow start, Kuminga came out with a vengeance in his next game and averaged 24.3 points in his final three contests. 

Not many players — at any age — can pull off a move with this much ease and this much power. 

Even with his tough start to the summer, Kuminga’s 19.3 points per game in Las Vegas ranked fourth among all players. He was far from perfect. He also had plenty of flashes that show why the Warriors and the rest of the league are so high on Kumimga’s untapped potential.

Moses Moody, G/F

Three spots ahead of Kuminga on the top scorer’s list in Las Vegas was Moody. The second-year pro led all players in Vegas by averaging 27.5 points. That also was only in two games. 

Between games at Chase Center and games in Las Vegas, Moody took some bumps and bruises. He had to get two stitches above his eye in his first game and kept playing, and then in Vegas dealt with some stomach/dehydration issues before also taking a hard fall and holding his wrist in his final game.

 

Moody played two games in the California Classic and two in Vegas. After struggling with his shot in the California Classic, he came out and scored 34 points in three quarters to open summer league in Vegas. He scored from all three levels and made 15 of his 17 free throws in that game, a number the Warriors love to see. 

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Between the Warriors’ three recent lottery picks, Moody is the most reliable and pro ready. We should know more about where Kuminga and Wiseman stand in that regard after training camp and as the regular season progresses. But Steve Kerr showed he trusts Moody in key situations during the Western Conference finals with Gary Payton II out. 

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Already, Moody is seen as an extremely smart player. In Vegas, he proved he can take the leap offensively as well. That will be key for Year 2, and the Warriors know he won’t stop working just because games are on pause for a while now.

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