The Golden State Warriors are in a very tricky spot right now. They have the talent to compete for a championship, as evidenced by their title last season, but their bench isn’t quite as good. Heading into the year, they were depending on their youngsters to fill in the gaps, and that plan hasn’t worked out as well as they had hoped.
That being said, one young player has managed to step up – Jonathan Kuminga. Despite his struggles at the start of the year, he’s now found a regular spot in head coach Steve Kerr’s rotation. And during a recent sit-down chat with Shams Charania of The Athletic, he gave Warriors star Draymond Green a ton of credit for helping him.
“I really appreciate that because Draymond isn’t the type of person that’s going to … support you as much as he’s supposed to when you haven’t really shown what you’re about,” Kuminga told Charania. “Draymond always competes.”
At the beginning of the season, Kuminga wasn’t a normal face in the rotation. He was struggling to keep up when thrust into a larger role. From the start of the season to the end of November, Kuminga was playing just 15.7 minutes per game. Since then, he’s averaged 22.7 minutes per contest. That’s a seven-minute jump.
And to take things a step further, his stats since the beginning of December have also been solid. Since then, he’s averaging 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game on 54.2% shooting from the field and 38.9% shooting from behind the three-point line. He ranks fifth on the team in scoring over that span.
Draymond Green Sounds Off on Jonathan Kuminga
Kuminga’s appreciation for Green isn’t a one-way street, either. The veteran star also appreciates the youngster and all he’s been doing for the team this year. After Golden State’s January 22 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Green had some kind words for Kuminga.
Green spoke about the forward’s defense, which has been his calling card this year, and the main reason he’s been able to earn consistent playing time.
“Thought he did a really good job of playing under control and taking advantage of those mismatches,” Green said via NBC Sports Bay Area. “And then also defensively just hounding guys, like he’s been hounding the ball. It’s good.”
Steve Kerr Has High Praise for Jonathan Kuminga
By the end of December, Kuminga had become a regular rotational piece for the Warriors. His offensive game isn’t super polished, but defensively, he’s been an integral part of Golden State’s gameplan, and that’s why he’s earning consistent minutes.
Kerr said as much during a December 29 appearance on the Damon & Ratto radio show on 95.7 The Game.
“Honestly he realized that’s his ticket to playing time,” Kerr said. “Like all young players, he wants to score and he’s got that potential, but it’s not what we need from him right now.”
With the February 9 trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Warriors have some tough decisions to make. However, with how well Kuminga has played on the defensive end, it would tough to part ways with him.