NBA Summer League is all about development, not the wins and loss column. If not, the champs would be in trouble right now.
Between the California Classic and Las Vegas, the Warriors went 1-7. Their lone win was a wild comeback against the San Antonio Spurs, one that just so happened to be James Wiseman’s Summer League debut. Even in that single victory, Wiseman’s showing was more important than the final score.
With that being said, whose stock rose and whose fell? Here’s a progress report of key players from the Warriors’ Summer League roster.
Patrick Baldwin Jr., F and Ryan Rollins, G
The Warriors selected Baldwin with the No. 28 overall pick this past June. They then spent $2 million to move up from the No. 51 overall pick to No. 44 in a trade with Atlanta Hawks to select Rollins out of Toledo. Neither played in Summer League.
Baldwin dislocated his ankle in the second game of his senior year of high school. The injury lingered into his lone college season where he only played 11 games. When it comes Baldwin’s health, the Warriors are taking a long-term approach. He’s going through drills, but the team is holding him out of scrimmages and game situations. Baldwin was a low-risk, high-reward pick. The Warriors believe in high basketball IQ, and believe when he’s fully healthy he’ll be much closer to the player who was a top high school recruit compared to one whose stock took a tumble as a freshman.
Bob Myers and the rest of the front office are so high on Rollins they nearly traded up to the No. 30 pick to take him. During his mandatory physical, it was found that Rollins has a stress fracture in his right foot. The Warriors immediately shut him down, but everything they’re doing is precautionary.
Nothing negative has been said or come from the Warriors’ top two draft picks, keeping their stock exactly where it was before Summer League.
James Wiseman, C
Wiseman hasn’t played an NBA game since April 10, 2021. He didn’t contribute a single minute to the Warriors last season on their way to another ring. The only direction the former No. 2 pick could go is up.
And he certainly did this summer.
After sitting out all three games of the California Classic, Wiseman made his return in the Warriors’ second game in Las Vegas. He didn’t disappoint. Wiseman scored 11 points, went 5-for-7 from the field, had two blocks, grabbed two rebounds and threw down a rim-rattling alley-oop from Jonathan Kuminga to kick off his comeback.
Of all his stats, the fact that Wiseman played four straight games in Vegas was the biggest win. He played three games in college and three games in the G League last season, before his surgically-repaired knee began swelling again, and didn’t suit up at all for the Warriors. His knee didn’t have any setbacks, and coach Jama Mahlalela felt Wiseman’s best game was his final one.
He wound up averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in Vegas. Wiseman shot 48.6 percent from the field and only 54.5 percent from the free-throw line. As the summer went on, though, he set better screens, fought harder for rebounds and seemed to fully understand his main responsibilities.
When healthy, Wiseman gives the Warriors an element they haven’t had on their roster, and there certainly were more positives than negatives this summer.
Jonathan Kuminga, F
Kuminga’s start to Summer League couldn’t have gone much worse. He was held scoreless in the first half and wound up turning the ball over five times, one more than his total number of points scored. The 19-year-old went 2-for-10 from the field in that opening game, missed all four of his free throws and wasn’t engaged on either side of the ball.
He came back determined to prove himself after what he called “one of the worst games of my life.” He scored 28 points in his next game and 29 in the game after that. In those two fourth quarters, Kuminga scored 20 points and went 7-for-12 from the field, taking over down the stretch. To give the Warriors their one and only win over the summer, Kuminga hit the game-tying bucket and then the game-winning free throw.
To no surprise, Kuminga’s time in Vegas wasn’t without some worthy highlights.
The second-year pro averaged 24.3 points in his final three games and 19.3 overall. But he also shot 40.6 percent from the field and 20 percent on 3-point attempts. Kuminga took 34 free throws, but made only 47.1 percent of his attempts and committed more turnovers (13) than assists.
Kuminga’s athleticism was on display. It also alone should be able to help him get more than 3.8 rebounds per game. Kuminga’s strengths and weaknesses were seen. The Warriors challenged him, putting the ball in his hands and forcing him to make decisions. Taking the next step and reaching his potential will be up to him.
Moses Moody, G/F
Moody was forced out of the Warriors’ second California Classic game after bleeding above his eye, which required two stitches. He returned but was much better in Vegas than the two Summer League games he played at Chase Center.
Following an 11 points per game average in his two games on his home court, Moody matched the Vegas weather and put on a show to open Summer League at the Thomas & Center. He scored 34 points in three quarters around the rim, at the mid-range and from deep. What stood out most was his 17 free-throw attempts in that impressive showing.
Over his two games played on the UNLV campus, Moody averaged 27.5 points and took 25 free throws — making 22 of them. In the Western Conference finals, Steve Kerr turned to the rookie for his length and defense with Gary Payton II sidelined. But in Las Vegas, Moody showed another side to his game.
Offensively, Moody shot 43.8 percent from the field, 33.3 percent beyond the arc and 88 percent from the charity stripe. He also totaled eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals in Vegas. He didn’t hesitate on offense, and showed how his floor can get closer to his ceiling.
Gui Santos, F
Santos was the only Warriors draft pick from this year able to play in Summer League. If first impressions are everything, Santos should take a bow.
Taken with the No. 55 pick out of Brazil, the recently-turned 20-year-old was a relative unknown to most of Dub Nation coming into Summer League. His first showing turned plenty of heads and was the first example of promise in a second-round pick. Santos in an 18-point loss to the Sacramento Kings to open Summer League scored 23 points, along with six rebounds and three steals.
He also had six turnovers in that first game. Santos has a smooth shooting stroke, is a smart player who has been a pro for years and shows shades of being a solid playmaker. At this point, he doesn’t play much defense and can lose control of the ball fairly easily.
As of now, Santos still is under contract with his professional team in Brazil, Minas. He’s the perfect draft-and-stash prospect, and ideally the Warriors would be able to get him in the system and keep him in Santa Cruz this season.
Don’t be surprised if they push for that route. The upside is there.
Justinian Jessup, G
Speaking of second-round draft picks, remember Jessup? The Warriors selected Jessup in the second round of the 2020 draft with knowledge of him already signing a professional contract in Australia. At Boise State, Jessup was a sharpshooter who shot 40.8 percent on 3-pointers.
In his two seasons for the Illawarra Hawks, Jessup averaged 13.5 points and shot 36 percent from deep. That isn’t exactly lighting it up.
Jessup shot 13-for-31 (41.9 percent) from the field and 4-for-17 (23.5 percent) on threes. He played all three games in the California Classic, but only in two of the Warriors’ five Vegas games. In the Summer League finale, Jessup wasn’t even seen on the bench.
Between two summer leagues, Jessup hasn’t done enough to impress the Warriors. He reportedly is gaining interest in Spain, where he can keep trying to prove he belongs in the NBA.
Quinndary Weatherspoon, G
Weatherspoon owned one of the Warriors’ two two-way contracts last season. His goal is to outgrow that title and earn a 15-man roster spot with Golden State. Did he do that in Summer League?
The 25-year-old has plenty of fans within the franchise. He’s a strong on-ball defender and good athlete. In five Summer League games, Weatherspoon averaged 10.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals.
Perhaps Weatherspoon can play a bit of the Juan Toscano-Anderson role if he’s given a roster spot and provide some defense gone with Payton now in Portland. Plenty of what he brings to the table is what teams are looking for at the end of the rotation. The question with Weatherspoon always has been his shot.
He shot 54.3 percent from the field overall and only 30 percent (3-for-10) on 3-pointers. The Warriors know what they have in him, and maybe believe they can help his shot from deep like they did with GP2. Weatherspoon didn’t greatly help his case, but he far from hurt it.
Stock: Slightly up
Lester Quiñones, G
Quiñones signed a two-way contract, which isn’t guaranteed, immediately after going undrafted this year out of Memphis. The 6-foot-5 guard shot 39 percent on 3-point attempts and 44.9 percent overall as a junior last season. Those numbers didn’t follow him to Summer League.
He went 10-for-30 (33.3 percent) from downtown and had a 35.8 field goal percentage. Quiñones flashed some two-way upside but needed to shoot better. That’s what he was signed for.
There’s no reason to panic about a two-way deal. Quiñones has more of an uphill battle in training camp now, but the Warriors do like him.
Stock: Neutral to slightly down
Mac McClung, PG
McClung went from scoring nine points against the Warriors in the California Classic as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers to averaging 13.4 points for Golden State over five games in Vegas. Each bucket was more entertaining than the next.
The 2021-22 G League Rookie of the Year also averaged 4.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds and shot 45.6 percent overall with a 50-percent clip on 3-pointers. But he also averaged 2.4 turnovers per game. McClung had one game where he dropped 22, 6 and 6, and another where he was a minus-24.
Those highlights, though.
Proving he can run an offense and be a point guard was McClung and the Warriors’ main goal. There were times where he had a nice two-man game going with Wiseman, and there were times when he dribbled the ball into the hardwood while making his case as a mixtape All-Star. But can he can contribute at the NBA level?
There’s no denying McClung’s athleticism. It jumps off the page, literally. He can get buckets and is a strong finisher for someone listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. Whether it be from the Warriors or not, McClung, 23, deserves a shot and should gain lots of interest before training camp begins.