Moses Moody fends off a cut-off eye during Warriors loss in California Classic


Moses Moody fends off a cut-off eye during Warriors loss in California Classic

SAN FRANCISCO — Less than five minutes into his 2022 California Classic debut Sunday at the Chase Center, it looked like the night would be cut short by Moses Moody. Literally.

Moody suffered a cut to his left eye at the 7:22 mark in the first quarter of the Warriors’ Summer League contest against the Los Angeles Lakers, a 100-77 loss. As blood flowed, Moody was forced into the dressing room. He received two stitches and returned to the ground with just over eight minutes into the first half, wearing a tan bandage over his left eye.

What was most frustrating for Moody came as a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t his vision that was affected. It was the return of vile nicknames.

When Moody suffered a black eye from an elbow early in his start against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 1, the rookie didn’t stop hearing the jokes of his older teammates. Now they are back.

“It sucks because I just got rid of my nicknames after it happened earlier this year, but they all came back,” Moody told reporters. “Call me ‘Bar Fight’, ‘Captain Jack.’ They’re all coming back.”

The 20-year-old, who is expected to make a big leap as a sophomore and see a bigger role next season, started as the Warriors host and explored the game. On his return, he picked up momentum in the second quarter and finished the first half with nine points and a turnover.

Eleven seconds after his first bucket, Moody attacked on the other side of the floor. That’s what makes the Warriors so intrigued by the #14 pick overall in the 2021 draft. He’s already a pro.

Moody doesn’t play like someone who was a teenager two months ago, nor does he present himself as one.

The Warriors starting lineup consisted of Moody, Lester Quiñones, Justinian Jessup, Gui Santos and Selom Mawugbe. Aside from Moody, that’s two second-round draft picks, two undrafted players, and none with NBA experience. Contrary to what he is used to at the Chase Center, Moody was a victim of his environment.

He remained goalless in the second half, missing all five shots and turning the ball around four times. Moody shot 3 for 11 from the field and 1 for 4 from deep. His minus-24 was the worst game for either side and lower than any plus-minus he produced as a rookie – in the regular season and the playoffs.

“For Moses specifically, I’d sure say a little bit of that,” said Warriors California Classic coach Seth Cooper when asked if Moody’s turnover was more a result of not being more used to his teammates than anything else. “His ball handling, his decision making, his reads, his comfort level, everything – the more he’s in situations where now other teams are trying to knock him out and make him not catch the ball, that’s something he is hasn’t really been the focus of the team attacking all year, I think it’s been a bit of everything but the more he does it the more comfortable he’ll feel.

“We’ve all seen that he’s capable of making all the moves. We wouldn’t put him in these situations if we hadn’t seen him in training and knew he was fully capable and confident in doing them.”

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Quiñones, the Memphis product that signed the Warriors to a two-way contract on draft night, had a game-high 19 points and added five rebounds. He shot 6-for-13 overall and 3-for-6 on 3-pointers. Last season as a junior for Memphis, Quiñones shot 39 percent from 3-point range.

It’s a name to watch going forward, but Moody’s development in terms of his overall gameplay will continue to be high on the Warriors’ Summer League to-do list.

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