Draymond Green sees a very bright future with his young Golden State Warriors teammate.
The veteran Green spoke out this week on the road ahead for No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Kuminga, who showed flashes of his star potential throughout his rookie season as he gradually worked his way into Steve Kerr’s rotation. Though Kuminga didn’t see as much playing time as the rest of the top rookies, Green said the 19-year-old will be a building block for the future of the Warriors.
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Green Predicts Big Things for Teammate
Speaking to NBA insider Marc J. Spears for Andscape, Green said Kuminga has all the pieces to become an All-Star. While Kuminga’s numbers didn’t necessarily jump out this season — he averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game while splitting time between Golden State and the G League Santa Cruz Warriors — his athleticism consistently shined.
Green said the next step for Kuminga is putting it all together, harnessing his natural athleticism while working on becoming a better NBA player.
“He’s going to be really good,” Green said. “He can be a perennial All-Star in this league. That’s up to him and the work he puts in. But he has the skills, the tools, he can see the floor, he has the opportunity if he puts the work in to be a perennial All-Star.”
If past performance is any indicator, Kuminga could be on track to being an NBA star in short time. Rasheed Hazzard, a former assistant coach with the G League Ignite, said his former player was one of the hardest workers he’s ever seen.
“He pushes himself every day,” Hazzard told Andscape of Kuminga. “His work ethic is second to none. I really enjoyed my time with him. Wants to learn. Wants to get better. He was the one guy in the bubble who was always texting me after a game, ‘Hey, can we find an empty gym to work on my shot?’ ”
Kuminga acknowledges the expectations, which have likely been heightened by Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who has outlined plans to remain a title contender for years to come on the strength of young players like Kuminga and second-year center James Wiseman.
“Hearing that just humbles me every time and motivates me to really keep working toward my dream and working towards what people say I can’t do,” Kuminga told Andscape of Green’s praise for him. “Every day I think about that and work towards that. Hopefully, one day I am going to be what everyone says.”
Kuminga’s Chance to Shine
While the future may be bright for Kuminga, he has a more immediate opportunity to have an impact for the Warriors. Kerr has moved the rookie into the starting rotation against the Memphis Grizzlies after injuries to Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala.
Like his performances during the season, Kuminga has had an up-and-down series against the Grizzlies. He is averaging 11 points per game for the series, but has struggled from the floor at times. He missed all five three-point attempts in a Game 5 134-95 loss blowout loss, though did score 17 points in 24 minutes.
Kuminga could have more chances to shine for the remainder of the series, and potentially into the Western Conference finals should the Warriors advance. Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported that Iguodala will be evaluated again in a week, keeping him out of at least the rest of the conference semifinal round.