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Notes from an exciting Warriors game in Vegas

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Golden State’s third Las Vegas Summer League game had plenty of highlights.

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder played a fun Summer League game on Friday night, and I apologize for not being able to cover it more thoroughly, but I’ve got less than three hours between the end of the game and the start of my flight.

But don’t worry: my computer is full of notes and my phone is full of sound bites, so we’ll be carrying Summer League coverage into next week.

For now, here are some notes from the Dubs game.

JONATHAN FREAKING KUMINGA

I’ve watched a lot of Summer League basketball over the years. A lot of it. My eyes hurt every time I think of how many hours of mostly awful basketball I’ve consumed in Las Vegas.

This play by Jonathan Kuminga is on the very short list of most impressive and exciting ones that I’ve seen.

Pretty much everything was on display there. The handles are impressive. The length allows him to cover so much ground on his crossovers. The patience and balance are great for such a young player. He has strong clock awareness. That hesitation is already above-average NBA level.

And of course the athleticism.

These are the plays that make you happy the Dubs opted for a high ceiling player. The 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists are nice, too.

Moses Moody can flat-out shoot

For much of the game it felt like Moses Moody could not miss. So much so that at one point the PA announcer at Cox Pavilion announced his name after a missed bucket.

But it wasn’t really the results that were most impressive. Moody just made it clear that he’s a shooter. His mechanics were fluid, balanced, and easily repeatable. He looked comfortable shooting off the dribble or when set, and was unbothered by hands in his face.

That’s pretty clearly an NBA-ready jumper.

Moses Moody can also do other things

I realize it’s not exactly a revelation that a lottery pick can play basketball well, but Moody had his best all-around game of Summer League. He seemed fully in control and patient. He was able to beat his man a few times, and when he was unable to he understood when to pass it out or find a cutter rather than force the issue.

I was enamored with his rocker step, and his ability to shift balance and drive without first stepping backwards. In all, he finished with 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting.

He also displayed a lot to love on defense. I’m beginning to think that Moody is a lot closer to being NBA ready than I had initially thought. If his defense can hold against better athletes, and he adapts well to the Warriors read-and-react offense, he could be getting meaningful minutes pretty quickly.

Gary Payton II just might be a shooter now

We’ve known Gary Payton II’s game for a while now. Elite point guard defense, non-existent offense.

He’s trying really hard to flip the script. Payton has been working hard this offseason with the Warriors trainers, with hopes of improving his jumper. So far it’s paying off. He made both of his attempts from long distance, bringing his Vegas tally up to 5-for-6, all while showing improvement at setting up teammates.

There can be no denying that Payton has a tremendous work ethic, and is in the lab trying to be what the Warriors are asking of him. And he just might be it.

Jonathan Kuminga has impressive verticality

As previously mentioned, I’ve watched way too many hours of Vegas basketball in my life. But along the way I’ve learned two things. The first is that teenagers are very bad at staying vertical when playing defense. It’s a veteran move they haven’t adapted. And the second is that all-world athletes really struggle at staying vertical. They want to block shots. They want to make highlights. They chase the ball as though they’re a puppy.

Kuminga is an 18-year old all-world athlete, yet he has a remarkable ability to stay vertical. And he’s long enough that he disrupts players just fine while doing so.

I don’t think Justinian Jessup will ever play for the Warriors

Sorry for the downer of a note, but he is way too far off.

Kyle Guy = two-way contract

The Dubs have one two-way contract to offer and it really seems to have Kyle Guy’s name written all over it. He poured in 11 points on a series of drives, cuts, and threes. He’s instant offense that could be plugged in at any time when the Warriors need it.

Dubs win

Sure, it’s Summer League. But celebrate your wins, y’all. The Warriors won 94-84.