August 12, 2022

Based on their initial 16-man roster released today, the Golden State Warriors will have a busy Summer League roster this year, though a few key players will likely miss this weekend’s California Classic. There are four former first-round picks, six 21-and-under players, plus former favorites from the Santa Cruz Warriors and former summer league teams.

We can divide this list into groups.

Young working studs

Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga were both 19 for the entire regular season, with Moody turning 20 in the finale. And while each suffered from growing pains, they were both significant contributors to perhaps the strongest effort in numbers of any Warriors championship team. Kuminga started 12 games, plus three playoff games, increasing his shot and goal numbers as the season went on (12.1 points per game, 36% three-point shooting after the All-Star break). Moody’s started 11 of 52 games, also improved his shooting over the season and went from rotation to playing huge minutes in the Conference Finals win over Dallas. Both are expected to excel in the summer league, although it looks like Kuminga will spend this weekend helping DR Congo qualify for the FIBA ​​World Cup – they have matches from Friday to Sunday .

rookies

Everyone the Warriors selected in last week’s draft is coming to SF and Las Vegas for the summer league, though it looks like the No. 28 pick Patrick Baldwin Jr. may miss the California Classic due to injury. He says his problematic ankle is fine, but the Warriors are generally pretty cautious about rehabilitating injuries, so he might not play in back-to-back classic games. Besides PBJ, fans can get their first look at the second-round sleeper ryan rollin of Toledo, a midrange swingman and shooting magician who turns 20 on Sunday when the Warriors play the Kings at Chase Center. The latest recruit is Lester Quinones, a 6’5” point guard from Memphis who the Warriors signed to a two-way deal after going undrafted last week. Quiñones was briefly a college teammate of James Wiseman, although drastic NCAA eligibility issues kept them from playing many games together. He was a three-point shooter in college, so the Warriors are hoping he can slip into the role of Chris Chiozza. Unfortunately, Chiozza is no longer eligible to sign a two-way deal, a fact that will surely crush all of his Dub Nation fans.

Seven foot question marks

James Wiseman hasn’t played an NBA game since April 10 of last year, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be playing at Chase Center for a few months. Anthony Slater reported that Big Jim “seems unlikely” to play this weekend, as he is still in the process of returning to full-contract workouts. The Vegas Summer League is a much more likely place for him to debut, but we’re still not expecting big minutes. Or honestly, anything. Wiseman’s meniscus injury – and all the setbacks that emerged from the surgeries – is still very tenuous, and while everyone wants to see what the former No. 2 pick can do, let’s just say we expected that. that Wiseman is back on the pitch a few times already. Bet less on his minutes, but you might want to circle July 15 on the calendar, as it’s Wiseman’s first chance to dunk Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren.

Visitors from abroad

2020 second-round pick Justinian Jessup returns to the United States after the summer ball, having spent the last two seasons playing for the Illawara Hawks of the Australian Basketball League – they play in Wollongong and are co-owned by the former manager of the NBA year and normal collar wearer Bryan Colangelo. Their arena is known as “The Snakepit”. All of these facts are more interesting than Jessup’s performance, where he averaged 13.3 points per game and saw his game regress slightly from 2020-21. Jessup scored 12.1 points per game last year in the Summer League and will almost certainly remain stashed away, with the Warriors full roster and Jessup’s questionable ability to defend in the NBA.

Dustin Sleva is a 26-year-old striker from Pittsburgh who has played professionally in France since playing at tiny Shippensburg University (these are the “Ship Raiders”). He was a teammate of Santa Cruz Warriors legend Axel Toupane who may have recommended him. And Gabriel Chachashvili is a 22-year-old center who plays for Hapoel Galil Elyon in Israel, who will wear a very large shirt to accommodate all the letters of his name. He’s only 6’9” but he and PBJ will rain down threes from the perimeter in pregame warmups.

The second round of this year Gui Santos is also highly unlikely to play for the big team this year, but it’s possible he’ll spend next year learning the Warriors system in Santa Cruz rather than playing for his side in Brazil. Historically, the Warriors have been willing to pay a bit more for the young players they want, like last year when they named Quinndary Weatherpsoon as an “affiliate player” so he could get a higher salary, then signed him to a two-way deal six weeks later. Still, the talented but raw Santos is more likely to stay with Minas in Brazil next year.

Two-way candidates

Weatherspoon is on the Summer League roster after winning a ring with the Warriors as one of their two-way players. Unlike Chiozza, Weatherspoon is only entering his 4th professional season, so he’s eligible to sign another two-way deal next year, and that could be with the Dubs. They reportedly extended a qualifying offer to Weatherspoon, which gives the Warriors the right to match any offers with him, although they would almost certainly let him go if he got a full NBA contract. There is also an undrafted rookie guard Payton Williswho’s old for a prospect at 24 — he was a sixth-year senior at Minnesota — but he’s big and can shoot three, two qualities the Warriors love.

A guard who is not tall is Jacob Gilyarda 5’9″ guard from Richmond who nonetheless became the NCAA’s all-time leader in steals last season with 466, breaking the old record. He also broke Richmond’s record for assists by a freshman, beating the former mark held by Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson Gilyard was not drafted primarily because he is extremely undersized, but his steal rates were incredible at the college and it’s not hard to see how he could carve out a Jose Alvarado-type role as a harassing defensive guard off the bench.

Plus, he can shoot three back and edged out No. 4 pick Keegan Murray when Richmond upset Iowa in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Weatherspoon is probably a more valuable player for Golden State, but Gilyard is absolutely the most fun two-way option on the summer roster.

To finish, Alex Moraux is another small college star who is too old to be a prospect. Morales has lit up Wagner College, winning Northeast Conference Player of the Year in consecutive years, a result once achieved by Indiana Pacers legend Rik Smits. Morales nearly led Wagner to the tournament, but had an abysmal shooting game (0-16!) in the conference title game. He’s a good scorer, but maybe he’s not athletic enough at the NBA level, and he’ll be 25 this fall.

Old friends

Kalob Ledoux averaged 13 points per game for Santa Cruz last year, shooting 40% from three points. It looks like Santa Cruz wants the 6’4″ sniper back, and why not? Selom Mawugbe played center for Santa Cruz the past two seasons and increased his rebound while continuing to block more than two shots per game. Mawugbe is a former Azusa Pacific defensive stallion, but his athleticism and the fact that he’s only played basketball since he was 14 means he still has room to improve, even at 24. . His main job this summer? Don’t crash into James Wiseman’s lap!

The California Classic takes place this Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday in SF, while the Warriors Las Vegas schedule begins next Friday night, July 8.