The Golden State Warriors entered the 2021 NBA Draft with three names that were known to be targets with the No. 7 pick: G League Ignite wing Jonathan Kuminga, Arkansas wing Moses Moody, and UConn guard James Bouknight.
When the pick rolled around, all three were on the board, and they opted for Kuminga.
Then the draft got a little drunk. Players went a little ahead of their projections, then players went a lot ahead of their projections. The two known targets for the Warriors at No. 14 — Baylor guard Davion Mitchell and Oregon guard Chris Duarte — were plucked off the board at Nos. 9 and 13, respectively. And some talented names began to slip.
By the time the Dubs second pick came around, one of their original targets was, shockingly, still on the board: Moody. And to the surprise of no one, they jumped on the opportunity to pick him.
And so just like that, the Dubs reloaded with two players they deemed worthy of the No. 7 pick.
The basketball world is a little split on which of the Warriors two prospects is most deserving of the No. 7 label. SB Nation had Moody as the No. 6 prospect in the draft, with The Athletic ranking him at No. 12 and The Ringer having him No. 14. Kuminga, on the other hand, was No. 12 on SB Nation’s big board, but No. 6 on The Athletic’s and No. 7 on The Ringer’s.
Either way, Golden State added two young prospects that they believe can help — along with James Wiseman — shape the future of Warriors basketball. Either that or be used in a trade for a star. Either option is fine.
The Warriors are justifiably excited. And so too, it seems, is Draymond Green.
Draymond Green texted Bob Myers after the third or fourth pick with, "Kuminga." Then, after the ninth pick, Green texted Myers: "Moody." After the Warriors made both of those picks, Green texted a thumbs-up emoji.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) July 30, 2021
But there is the cold reality, which the Warriors acknowledged long before the draft. They can’t rely on their rookies to be a part of the rotation this year. They learned that the hard way last year with Wiseman, and they’re determined to not make the same mistake this season.
Kuminga and Moody are prospects, and will be treated as such. Kuminga is the more raw of the two, courtesy of a poor jumper and non-existent defense. He carries superstar potential in his backpack, but it’s going to take him a long time to sort through the bag and find it.
Myers said Kuminga's skills, per their evaluation, is ball-handling for his size and his downhill style of play. And they like his aggressiveness— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) July 30, 2021
Moody is a more well-rounded and polished player, who could find his way into the rotation as the season goes on — but he’ll have to force the action. Nothing will be handed to him.
The Dubs have had some hits and misses in the draft in recent years. Just in the last two years, Jordan Poole stands out as a surprisingly strong move, while trading to find a way to grab Alen Smailagić will have fans scratching their heads for years to come.
We’ll have to wait — likely a long time, given the rawness and young age of Kuminga and Moody — before we can draw conclusions on Golden State’s 2021 draft.
But based on the team’s internal big board, they did better than they should have. Now they just have to make that translate.