Moody rewarded for staying ready off bench vs. Rockets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — Every athlete in every sport possesses their own specific skill set. When it comes to basketball, some thrive as shooters, some can hand out assists with the best of them, others are masters of attacking the glass for rebounds and then there are those whose role is being a defensive stopper.
The players who can check multiple boxes, those are the ones counting their checks with heavy pockets.
But staying ready? It doesn’t look like a skill on paper, though it’s as important as any other aspect of the game, and takes both mental and physical fortitude.
Warriors second-year pro Moses Moody showed why staying ready for your moment, no matter how long it has been since your last, is as important as anything Saturday night at Chase Center in the Warriors’ 120-101 win over the Houston Rockets.
“Just his professionalism and his character,” Steve Kerr said when asked what stood out most from Moody’s performance. “I mean, the guy hasn’t played in a month and he’s been working so hard every single day going full bore getting his work in in the weight room and on the floor getting extra shots.
“Moses is someone who I just believe in as a human being. He showed why tonight. That takes a lot of character to come in off the bench with a lot of cobwebs and shake all those off and knock down big shots and play important minutes.
“So hats off to Moses.”
Moody entered the game at the 3:37 mark in the first quarter and played the rest of the period. That gave him more minutes in the first quarter alone than the Warriors’ last four games combined. He was a DNP (Did Not Play) in their previous two contests, played three minutes and 25 seconds in the Warriors’ blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and didn’t see any action when Golden State took down the Utah Jazz.
When he was given his opportunity Saturday night in front of the home fans, Moody didn’t cower. He did quite the opposite, rising to the occasion.
Without hesitation, Moody drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing on his first shot attempt of the night in the first quarter. Then in the final seconds of the first quarter, he quickly found JaMychal Green for an easy dunk to extend the Warriors’ lead.
His positive impact continued as Kerr kept turning to him. Moody ended up totaling 16 minutes and led the bench with 11 points. He went 4-for-5 from the field and was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, the same amount of 3-pointers that the Rockets made as a team.
Whether it’s the young core of Moody, Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman, or even veterans like Green and Donte DiVincenzo, the name of the game this season during Kerr’s rotation experiments has been preparation and execution. Steph Curry isn’t surprised one bit that Moody is the latest to step up when needed.
“That’s the way the season goes, especially with the way our roster is built and mixing the rotation a little bit,” Curry said of Moody. “You have to just stay ready and just play with confidence when you’re out there and he came in right away and made his first two shots and played with a lot of energy.
He puts in the work.
“It’s not surprising ever when he comes in and he makes a contribution, you can feel his presence out there because he stays ready. He works. He comes with a great attitude just understanding the challenges of him getting in the rotation consistently and when it doesn’t happen, he stays positive, he stays engaged and then when he’s out there ready to go, he plays.”
With Klay Thompson out for the second night of a back-to-back, Moody had an idea he would be part of Saturday night’s rotation. Nothing is ever certain, but if that was to be the plan, he made sure he would be ready.
During his stretch of mostly being stuck to the sidelines, Moody offensively has been working on his ball handling and getting in a good rhythm with his shot — on the move and stationary. Defensively, his focus has been on-ball defense and getting over screens. More than anything, he hasn’t skipped any steps with his conditioning.
Mindset-wise, it was simple once his name was called.
“Be solid,” Moody said. “Go in there and do what I’m supposed to do. I know my role and what I’m expected to do, so try and do that to the best of my ability.”
Moody also admitted that frankly, it has sucked not being part of the mix, as it should. A player with his talent shouldn’t be comfortable on the bench. He should want more in the right way, which is exactly what Kerr expressed after the win.
All last season, Moody was praised as a rookie for his maturity. He was 19 years old, but the way his coaches and teammates talked about him, it felt like he had years and years of NBA experience to his name. Though that was the consensus when talking with those around Moody, he wasn’t shy in saying he was a little unsure of himself as a rookie.
But after proving himself in pressure-packed situations like the Western Conference Finals, a regular-season game at the start of December is another day at the office.
“I feel more so that I know I’m ready,” Moody said. “I know I’m ready for everything that’s to come out there. I know I can stick with anybody out there, but it’s the same situation so you just have to deal with it.”
The youngster has been dealt some tough hands this season thus far. He also proved once again he can ace the art of staying ready. What’s next for Moody is anybody’s guess.
If his number’s called as soon as Monday against the Indiana Pacers, he’ll be prepared to have the answers at his fingertips.