Quinones puts on Summer League show for ‘GOATs’ Steph, CP3

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Quinones puts on Summer League show for ‘GOATs’ Steph, CP3 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Lester Quinones is brimming with confidence, and it’s showing on the court for the Warriors.

The young guard scored a game-high 26 points in Golden State’s 94-86 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans during NBA Summer League play in Las Vegas on Sunday night, shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range as veterans Steph Curry and Chris Paul watched from the sideline.

“Ultimate confidence right now,” Quinones told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth during an in-game interview. “I’m just trying to lead these guys, go out here and get this win today. We’re making a lot of great plays. Sometimes you’re sacrificing your shot for someone else’s better shot, and I feel like that’s how we’ve been hooping today and I love it.”

Quinones is a likely candidate for one of the Warriors’ three two-way contracts for the 2023-24 NBA season, and the team owns the rights to match any offer he signs elsewhere after his continued progress earned him a qualifying offer from Golden State late last month. Through four summer league games so far, Quinones is averaging 22.0 points and 3.0 assists on 48-percent shooting from the field and 47 percent on 3-pointers.

With new Warrior Paul and the greatest shooter of all time in Curry watching Sunday, the 22-year-old was even more motivated to get a win.

“It just makes me go out there a little bit hard having those legends there, those GOATs, [and] having those guys as mentors,” Quinones told ESPN. “Going there on the side in between plays, getting a little bit of tips from them, it just helps and it means the world, man.

“Like I said, we’re just out here playing great basketball and I just love to be a part of it.”

Forward Gui Santos, who also is having a nice summer league for the Warriors, played alongside Quinones in the G League last season and has noticed a shift from the guard’s arrival as an undrafted rookie to now.

“I think Lester always was a great player, nice player,” Santos told reporters after the loss. “I think it was just the confidence and the way that he adapted his game coming from college to the NBA. When he figured that out, he started dropping 40 points in the G League last year, and he’s started showing here what a good player he is.

“I think he always [had] that, but now he’s more confident, and I’m happy to see him doing his game.”

Quinones will look to continue earning Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s trust as Summer League play continues, with Golden State’s next contest set to tip off at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks.

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