Steve Kerr Sounds Off on Young Warriors Forward After Drama

Jonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors.

Getty Jonathan Kuminga of the Golden State Warriors.

It’s been a relatively calm offseason for the Golden State Warriors. Talks of future contract extensions have dominated headlines, but at the ground level, everything has pretty much been business as usual. They’re fully focused on one thing heading into next year – defending their title.

The offseason additions of Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green perfectly negated the losses of Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II, and Nemanja Bjelica, and their young players should be ready to step up into larger roles. However, one young player ran into some drama earlier this summer.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN questioned Kuminga’s commitment and focus. However, during a recent appearance on The TK Show with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr refuted these claims, saying that he and GM  Bob Myers were confused by them.

“I know there was that weird report that came out, I think Stephen A. Smith said something about JK, and honestly, Bob [Myers] and I when that came out, called each other and asked each other ‘where did that come from?’” Kerr stated. “Because it made no sense, because JK’s been great, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him, he’s worked hard, I enjoy coaching him. He’s right where he needs to be and he’s gotta just keep getting better every day. But we’re very happy with his summer and everything he’s committed to.”

The ESPN anchor’s reporting came on an episode of First Take, where he reported that Kuminga wasn’t fully focused on the Warriors.


Smith: ‘I’m Worried About Kuminga’

Kuminga didn’t earn a ton of playing time during his rookie season, as he was stuck behind guys like Draymond Green and Poter Jr. in the rotation. When discussing the team’s young players, Smith expressed some concern when it came to Kuminga.

“I expect [Moses] Moody and [James] Wiseman to be significant. I’m worried about Kuminga. I’m hearing too many things about him off the court in terms of his head. The level of discipline he lacks. You understand? Some of the foolishness,” Smith said.

And, despite claiming to be a fan of Kuminga, Smith told him to get his act together.

“I’m not getting in his personal business; I’m not saying nothing like that. I’m talking attitude, I’m not talking actions. I’m saying that attitude, the level of focus, commitment, determination, just putting your head down — doing the work. I’m hearing that he’s shortchanging the Warriors in that regard, and he gotta get his act together, because I’m a Jonathan Kuminga fan,” Smith explained.

After those accusations got out, Andrew Iguodala came to his defense.


Iguodala Defends Kuminga After Reports

Kerr wasn’t the only person to defend Kuminga. During an episode of his podcast, Point Forward, Iguodala said that Smith’s comments weren’t warranted.

“My young fella, I’m on his head,” Iguodala said on the Point Forward podcast. “He took some licks from Stephen A. I don’t know how warranted they were, because from what I heard he been doing what he supposed to do this summer.”

So, as the Warriors get ready for next year, the team seems confident in Kuminga’s ability to contribute, regardless of Smith’s claims.

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