While all eyes were on the Golden State Warriors‘ lottery trio of James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody during summer league, the spotlight was unexpectedly stolen away from them on more than one occasion.
Right out of the gate, it was the team’s pick at No. 55 in the 2022 NBA Draft — Brazilian wing Gui Santos — that got the hype train rolling in a different direction.
In his first-ever game for the Warriors on July 2, the 20-year-old managed to outduel Kings swingman and No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray. In 25 minutes of play, Santos scored 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting and added six rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
Flash forward to now and the baller has continued to impress with his offensive rebounding and some highlight dimes, but he’s not consistently setting himself apart from the G League pack, which leaves one to wonder whether he’ll actually see any main roster minutes in 2022-23.
Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney spoke to a Western Conference executive for their take on the situation.
Exec Drops Truth Bomb on Santos’ Main-Roster Chances
Santos just had what might have been his best game with the Dubs’ G League affiliate — the Santa Cruz Warriors — to date. Playing 32 minutes against the Salt Lake City Stars, he put up 14 points and 11 rebounds, both of which were season highs. He also knocked down two of his four attempts from three-point range.
For the year, though, he’s only logging a 7.4-6.5 line, which doesn’t exactly scream “NBA-ready.” Even if things were going better for him, though, he might not get much of a chance to play with Golden State given the team’s current struggles.
“If they thought he could help them, he would absolutely get a shot. But they are not in a position to be bringing guys along right now, not with the issues on the bench.” the exec declared.
“Pat Baldwin Jr. is probably next up to get a chance, if any new young guy is going to crack the rotation, it would be him, they are high on him. That just makes sure that Santos is that much farther from the rotation. He has some promise but he is not ready yet.”
Patience Is a Virtue
Back in July, a league GM indicated to Heavy Sports that fans should probably be playing the long game where their expectations of Santos are concerned. But there was also a belief that the Warriors are willing to give him some time.
“The joke is always, he’s two years away from being two years away and that might be the case for him. But he’s 20, so he’s either NBA-ready in two years or they will move on,” the GM said.
Still, the exec noted that Santos has some attributes that make him intriguing as an upside play/developmental project. And those continue to be apparent with the Sea Dubs.
“He can get there. He is fun to watch but he is like a lot of young players coming out of Brazil, very raw,” the exec added. “He is not a crazy athlete and he has good ball-handling instincts but he needs high-level experience.”