Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody need to play more as Warriors struggle
The Warriors have a lot of problems to solve and are running out of time to solve them.
After Sunday’s loss to the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena, Golden State has lost five of six since Steph Curry sprained the ligament in his left foot. Their defense has been porous, the offense disjointed, and with just seven games remaining in the regular season, head coach Steve Kerr must find the right buttons to press and roster combinations to use to put the Warriors in the game. best possible position for when the playoffs begin on April 16.
Whatever plan Kerr conjures up over the last seven games should include plenty of Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
It’s not a “play it kids because the title dreams are dead” track. It’s a bit like “play the kids because they give you the best chance”.
Prior to Sunday night’s loss to the Wizards, Kuminga was averaging 13.4 points per game on 52.7 percent shooting in 24 minutes per game in games on March 13. Moody worked his way through the rotation and averaged 9.5 points per game while shooting 56.3% from the floor and 44.4 from 3-pointers in 20.6 minutes per game from March 1 to March 14. .
Even at full health, Kuminga and Moody are two of the Warriors’ top eight players and have incredibly high game-to-game caps. With Curry out, Draymond Green ironing out the rust of a 31-game absence and Klay Thompson lacking consistency, the Warriors should turn to Kuminga and Moody later.
That didn’t happen over the past week as Kerr tried to mix and match rosters with Curry sidelined.
On Sunday, Kuminga started in place of Kevon Looney and played 13 minutes in the first half. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Otto Porter Jr. coming out of the break and was DNP in the second half.
Moody suffered a shoulder injury March 16 against the Boston Celtics. He was listed as day-to-day and recorded five minutes in a loss to the Orlando Magic and 17 in a win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. He did not play Friday against the Atlanta Hawks or Sunday against the Wizards, listed as a DNP coach’s decision.
After the loss to the Wizards, Kerr said he left Kuminga because he wanted more shots next to Green.
“We needed the floor spacing,” Kerr told reporters Sunday when asked why he chose to insert Porter for Kuminga. “I think we needed to surround Draymond with another shooter. I thought JK struggled in the first half. It wasn’t his night. He’s still a rookie. Rookies are going to have their ups and downs. He had great games for us, and then games where things went quickly, and we spat. It was not his fault what happened in the first half. It was our fault collectively. But to do our best in the second half, I felt like I had to go for veterans and for combinations that had more spacing, and that’s why I went for Otto.”
Kerr also opted to play Damion Lee for 18 minutes on Sunday instead of turning to Moody, who is shooting 43.3% from beyond the arc in March.
The Warriors are looking for answers as the season draws to a close. It’s second nature for a trainer to look to veterans to stabilize the ship. But in that case, Kerr would have to rely on the Warriors’ youth to give them a boost.
RELATED: Warriors Can’t Achieve Their Goals Until Draymond Finds His Game
With Curry out, the Warriors should have a clear eight-man rotation made up of Jordan Poole, Thompson, Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Porter, Kuminga and Moody, with Gary Payton II executed in some spots.
Losers of 10 of their last 15, the Warriors’ best chance of finding footing before the playoffs start is to give Kuminga and Moody consistent playing time next to Thompson, Green, Poole and Wiggins to have a group a bit consistent for the playoffs.
If Moody and Kuminga’s minutes continue to fluctuate over the past seven games, it will be hard to expect consistent production from them when the Warriors need them most.
The Warriors came into the season having Kuminga and Moody sit back, watch, grow and earn their NBA minutes. The rookie duo did it and worked their way into Kerr’s rotation. They haven’t done anything to make their way beyond showing some expected youthful moments.
With the Warriors sinking and Curry in a boot, Golden State must trust its most talented players, regardless of experience, to turn the tide.
You’ll see this Monday night in Memphis when the Warriors are expected to seat Thompson, Green and Porter. After beating the Heat last Wednesday, don’t be surprised if Poole, Kuminga and Moody once again lead the shorthanded Warriors to an upset victory.
After all, the kids are damn good, and they’re the Warriors’ best chance to steady the ship before the playoffs start and Curry, hopefully, back.
Download and follow the Dubs Talk podcast