It may have taken him a hot minute to get going but, make no mistake — Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga has been one of the best rookies in the NBA in 2021-22. His game was especially impressive over the back half of the campaign.
From January 6 through the end of the Dubs’ regular-season schedule on April 10, Kuminga averaged 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Along the way, he connected on a healthy 52.2% of his attempts from the floor and 35% from three-point range.
Kuminga performed so well down the stretch, in fact, that Warriors GM Bob Myers stated his belief way back in March that the former No. 7 overall pick could be a playoff contributor this postseason, which is rarefied air for a first-year baller.
Alas, while Kuminga has started three playoff games and produced a highlight-reel play or two, he’s not currently a major part of Steve Kerr’s rotation. The baller has logged two DNP-CDs over the Dubs’ last three contests, and he’s averaging just 10.7 minutes per game in the playoffs.
However, one hoops scribe is still expecting a seismic leap from Kuminga, potentially as soon as next season.
Kuminga Projected for Increased Role in 2022-23
On Saturday, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz dropped his list of “promising NBA players who need bigger roles next season.” Kuminga was part of that group, which also included the likes of Knicks forward Cam Reddish, Spurs guard Josh Primo, Rockets pivot Alperen Sengun and Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski.
“With Andrew Wiggins entering the final year of his contract and the Warriors already loaded with expensive deals, we could see Kuminga filling his role as a starting wing by 2023,” opined Swartz. “Head coach Steve Kerr has already used Kuminga as a starter in the playoffs to help match up with an athletic Memphis Grizzlies team, showing the trust he has in his rookie.”
Swartz then capped off his Kuminga with a pair of dynamite predictions about what’s to come for the 19-year-old.
“Kuminga will win the Slam Dunk Contest in the near future, and he could be playing in the All-Star Game as well the next day.”
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Kuminga Snubbed by All-Rookie Voters
Earlier this week, the NBA announced its All-Rookie First and Second Teams; despite all he has done this season, Kuminga was conspicuously absent from the list of honorees.
Raptors wing Scottie Barnes, Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley, Magic forward Franz Wagner and Rockets guard Jalen Green picked up First-Team honors. Meanwhile, the Second Team was comprised of Pelicans forward Herb Jones, Thunder wing Josh Giddey, Nuggets guard Bones Hyland, Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu and Pacers guard Chris Duarte.
In the end, Kuminga fell just five votes shy of Duarte, who earned the final All-Rookie Team spot.