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Kuminga and Moody show flashes in Warriors 119-109 loss to Mavericks in Game 4
Couldn't get the sweep, but at least the rookies got valuable experience in a huge game.
The Golden State Warriors lead in the Western Conference Finals fell to 3-1 after the Dallas Mavericks beat them 119-109. I’m gonna tell you the same thing I told my mom when she was wondering why I didn’t finish cleaning the kitchen back in my childhood home: “sweeping is too hard”.
Knocking out a playoff team four times in a row, especially when that elimination game is in their home gym, is no easy matter. Maybe that’s why this postseason has been so bereft of brooms.
Unless the team you root for has Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
But one of the silver linings of this loss was that we got to see Golden State’s pair of lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody get extended time to learn and contribute.
There were some clips from the game that got my mind racing on the potential for these guys now and down the road.
Like our guy Kuminga here: so he’s just gonna pull out the Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant create-space-with-physicality-fadeaway? NICE. This combination of athleticism and touch is hella hard to guard.
Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins are probably the only other players on the team with the height, physicality, and footwork to pull off this TOUGH mid-ranger. DeMar Derozan has made a career off of hitting these shots. If the rook shows consistency with this type of shot, he gives the Warriors a dimension they haven’t truly enjoyed since the Kevin Durant days: CONTESTED MID-RANGE HOOPIN!
It’s also the kind of look that playoff defenses sometimes force teams into. That’s where the Jimmy Butlers and Jayson Tatums of the world make their hay.
But for those of us in Dub Nation who are concerned about Kuminga hijacking the offense to call his own number on those tough jumpers, how about this corner three he hit that made it seem like the Warriors were about to steal this game late?
This offense will generate plenty of corner threeball looks for JK. During the regular season Kuminga shot 16-of-56 (28.6%) on corner triples. This is the type of shot that could make him a monster in this offense if he’s knocking it down. Once the defense begins to fear him knocking down daggers from that area, he can leverage that threat into a pump fake on a hurried closeout. Then his freakish athleticism takes over as he bolts toward the paint where he can posterize whoever is rotating over…or activate that mid-range package he’s working on.
I also liked the potential of Kuminga as a barreling roll man out of the pick-and-roll. He can draw so much defensive attention that once he gets 20 feet in the air he can scan the floor and pass it to an open man. Like his fellow rook Moody!
There wasn’t much room here by the time Moody caught the ball here. But I was impressed with his presence of mind to gather himself into a hop step and float up a nice touch shot. It was a pretty surreal moment for me to watch the Dubs developing their two 2022 lottery picks in an elimination game during the Western Conference Finals #lightyears
Another part of Moody’s game the Warriors are counting on him developing out more is that jumpshot of his, especially from those aforementioned corners. That’s where guys have to find spots when the defense is focused on a ballhandling scoring threat, and if Moody can make teams pay from there consistently then it will be hard to get him off the court.
Moody shot 10-of-38 (26.3%) on corner threes during the regular season. For reference, All-Star starter Andrew Wiggins shot 50-for-113 (44.2%) and Gary Payton II shot 29-of-74% (39.2%). Moody’s confidence here to shoot with the defender in his face is a GREAT sign that he will continue to get better at knocking down the longball.