With Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, two lottery picks, guard Brandin Podziemski, who was selected to the All-Rookie First Team, and 2023 draft pick Trayce Jackson-Davis, who was just one vote away from being selected to the All-Rookie Team, the future is bright for the young core of the Warriors. Let’s take a moment to consider the projections made by NBA draft experts about these players even before they played their first professional game, even if their stories are still being written in the league.

The Warriors selected Jonathan Kuminga with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft; according to NBADraft.net, he is the sixth-best talent in the class. Michael Hopp, an NBADraft.net evaluator, called Kuminga a freak athlete and a physical powerhouse. With a wingspan of 6’11 and a listed weight of 220 pounds, he possesses exceptional physical attributes and athleticism for an NBA wing.

“Tremendous athleticism should raise both his floor and ceiling and can help contribute to a greater offensive output until when/if his shooting ability develops,” Hopp said of Kuminga. “He is one of the youngest prospects in the draft and is already competing at a high-level against very talented competition and with an NBA-ready body.”

This season, Kuminga demonstrated his remarkable athleticism by recording the most dunks in a single season in Warriors history (138), dating back to the initial tracking of play-by-play data in 1997–98. Hopp believed that Kuminga could guard four different positions on the field because of his physical attributes. Kuminga has demonstrated this ability in the NBA, where he is frequently used as a power forward while also being charged with slowing down guards and wings. Hopp also described the forward as a diverse scorer with the ability to create and make shots from behind the arc, midrange, and the post. Kuminga demonstrated that adaptable scoring ability in his third NBA season, shooting 43.5 percent on corner 3-pointers and 51.9 percent from 3 to 10 feet.

Hopp compared Kuminga to the athletic two-way forward Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics prior to the draft. Although Brown had similar incredible athleticism when he first joined the NBA, he started to show more offensive versatility in his second season. In his fifth season, Brown earned his first of three All-Star selections. In the previous five seasons, he had averaged more than 20 points per game. This season, he demonstrated his value on the biggest stage by winning MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals. Kuminga’s scoring average increased by over six points this season as he was one of three players to average at least 16 points in fewer than 27 minutes a game. In comparison to Brown in his third season, he was more efficient (56.0 EFG% versus 52.5 EFG%) and scored more points (16.1 PPG over 13.0 PPG Brown).

Kuminga was compared to forward Luol Deng by Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman. During his 15-year NBA career, Deng was a member of two All-Star teams and an All-Defensive team. According to Wasserman, the two were similar in that they were both shot-creating wings that could make good use of their physical assets.

Described by Wasserman as “impressive physically, the athletic 6’6″ 210-pound combo forward also stands out for his shot-making abilities from the mid-range, three, and post.”

Moses Moody, who was chosen with the 14th overall choice of the 2021 Draft, was another lottery pick in Kuminga’s draft class. Moody was rated as the eighth-best prospect in his class by NBADraft.net. Eric Yearian, an NBADraft.net evaluator, saw Moody as a 3-and-D guard and highlighted his ability to shoot well off the catch or for one or two dribble pull-ups. Like Kuminga, Yearian believed the guard could cover several positions because of his length, quickness, and anticipatory nature. Moody received recognition for both his basketball acumen and feel for the game. Similar abilities have been demonstrated by Moody at the next level, as he has improved his output each season since joining the league.
Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga has lost faith in coach Steve Kerr: Sources -  The Athletic
“His well-rounded game and high-level understanding of the game mean he should be able to fit into most teams and find a role that he can excel in,” Yearian said of Moody.

Yearian compared Robert Covington and Glen Rice to NBA players for Moody. In his career, Rice averaged 18 points per game and was a three-time All-Star. In 2000, he won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. Covington is a 3-and-D wing with a career average of 10.8 points who was selected to the All-Defensive First Team in 2018. This past season, Moody set a career-high 8.1 points per game average and matched Covington’s career average with a 36.2 career 3-point percentage.

Moody was likened to San Antonio Spurs guard Devin Vassell by Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman. In his fourth season, Vassell averaged a career-high 19.5 points per game and placed fourth in the Most Improved Player voting. Wasserman characterizes both players as 3-and-D men who can score inside a team’s offensive flow and make off-ball shots that fit well on any squad.

“Moody’s ability to shoot from the outside should translate to the next level, and his overall length and athleticism will allow him to guard multiple positions,” Wasserman stated.

NBADraft.net originally pegged Brandin Podzeismski, the 19th overall choice by the Warriors in the 2023 NBA Draft, as the 23rd-best player in his class. Still, it’s safe to say that he has exceeded his selection position after making the NBA’s Rising Stars game this year and being named to the All-Rookie First Team. Podziemski is a combo guard with shooting touch, court vision, ball handling, and playmaking skills, according to NBADraft.net evaluator Aaron Smith. Smith highlighted the versatility in Podziemski’s offensive arsenal, citing his step-back jumper, floater, crafty ball fakes, and trademark Euro step.
Brandin Podziemski '21 Makes NBA Debut Appearance - St. John's Northwestern  Academies
Regarding Podziemski, Smith remarked, “The lefty has an excellent shooting stroke and has developed into a knock down outside shooter.” “Considered more of a shooting guard by most scouts, he has the vision and passing skills to play the point.”

As a rookie, Podziemski showed off his offensive variety by trailing only Victor Wembanyama, the Rookie of the Year, in games with at least 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists (17). The rookie guard, who shot 38.5 percent from outside the arc, was also one of the team’s greatest shooters. Pre-draft analyst Smith compared Podziemski to Matthew Dellavedova, who was renowned for his defensive stand against 2016 NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry. Like Dellavedova, Podziemski was the only rookie to lead his club in plus-minus this season (+264), demonstrating how his effect extended well beyond simple counting numbers. He also left his imprint on defense, leading the league in drew charges (38). But as a rookie, Podziemski scored 9.2 points per game, which was more than any other season in Dellavedova’s career.

Podziemski was compared to guards Josh Hart of the New York Knicks and Damion Lee of the Phoenix Suns by RotoWire’s draft gurus. Hart was a reliable starter for a squad that advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals and made contributions on both sides of the court. Lee was a member of the 2022 championship squad and spent four of his six NBA seasons with the Warriors. According to RotoWire, the two and Podziemski were comparable in that they might have multiple effects on the game. Despite not being anywhere close to the tallest player on the team, Podziemski (427) and Hart (675) both led their teams in total rebounds this past season, which is a credit to their additional effort.

“A versatile contributor, but the selling point is his smooth stroke from beyond the arc,” stated RotoWire.

The Warriors selected Trayce Jackson-Davis with the 57th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, which is a considerable drop from NBADraft.net’s ranking of the two-way big man, which had him rated 21st in his class. Derek Bast, an NBADraft.net evaluator, was impressed with Jackson-effective Davis’s ability to score in both ways at the rim and in pick-and-roll situations. He was regarded by Bast as a superb rim runner and screener who could finish anything delivered close to the hoop. Jackson-Davis was said to have excellent vision out of double teams and be a playmaking threat in the short roll. Bast witnessed the big man’s effect on the glass, his “elite” ability to stop shots and shield the rim.
Regarding Jackson-Davis, Bast called him “one of the most productive forwards in college basketball over the last three seasons.” The ideal method to integrate him into the offense is in a role akin to that of Domantas Sabonis in Sacramento or Draymond Green in Golden State.”

Jackson-Davis demonstrated all of these qualities as a rookie, leading the club in blocks (76) and paint points (324). In addition to being second among rookies in field goal percentage (70.2%, min 200 FGM), he became the first rookie for the Warriors to record 100 dunks in a season since play-by-play data was initially monitored in 1997–98.

Bast compared Jackson-Davis to two skilled and agile undersized big men in the NBA, Trey Lyles and Jaylin Williams. Williams, an Oklahoma City Thunder second-year player, hasn’t yet produced as much as Jackson-Davis did as a rookie. The rookie big man for the Warriors also outperformed Lyles’ career averages in the major statistical categories.

Jackson-Davis was compared to athletic big men Brandon Clarke and Montrezl Harrell by RotoWire’s draft gurus. Harrell averaged double figures for five consecutive seasons and was a reliable threat as a roll man, winning Sixth Man of the Year in 2020. For the Memphis Grizzlies, Clarke has played for five seasons and has averaged double figures each time.

“He has impressive mobility and athleticism, can dominate the paint on both ends, score with various post moves and erase opponents’ shots at the rim,” according to RotoWire.

Jackson-Davis, Kuminga, Moody, Podziesmki, and Podziesmki have all established themselves early in their careers and have promising futures. Watch the June 26th and 27th, 2024 NBA Draft to see which player or players might join this youthful, talented core.

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