Warriors’ Kerr Explains Why Rookies Still Spending Time in G League

Jonathan Kuminga

Getty Jonathan Kuminga reacts to a play in a game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Golden State Warriors rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have put on a lot of miles so far this NBA season, though most of them have not been on the court.

The team’s lottery picks have been on the road a lot between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, splitting time between the NBA’s Warriors and the G League affiliate about 75 miles down the road. With a tight rotation on Golden State and fewer chances to get minutes in the NBA, Warriors coach Steve Kerr explained how Kuminga and Moody are benefitting from their stints in the G League that offer more chances to play.

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Warriors Rookies Gaining Experience

Kerr has already laid out his strategy for Kuminga and Moody this season, saying he will take as many opportunities to get them playing time as possible. That sometimes means tight schedules for the teenage duo — including back in November, when they played in games for both Santa Cruz and Golden State in the same day.

That approach is now starting to bear fruit, Kerr explained. He said this week that the extra playing time in a lower pressure setting has allowed both to learn what works and what doesn’t against NBA-caliber talent.

“I think the biggest thing is just getting reps and understanding what wins and what doesn’t,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “They are both, obviously, really talented guys or they wouldn’t have been picked in the lottery. What you want from young players is a recognition of winning plays and repeating those types of plays over and over again.

“The whole point of being a good team is to execute over and over again and try to wear a team down with that execution,” he added. “So recognizing that in-game is very important. It’s similar to young quarterbacks in the NFL not turning the ball over. It’s not taking too much risk, stuff like that. There’s just got to be a feel for what wins at this level. It’s not anything you can just tell someone, they have to actually feel it.”

Kerr has been a big advocate of using the G League to get more seasoning for young players, and has used the strategy to great success before. Last season, guard Jordan Poole split time between Golden State and the G League bubble in Orlando, and returned to a greatly expanded role. He is now having a breakout season, averaging 17.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, all career bests.

Kuminga Flies High

While he has yet to crack the regular rotation in Golden State, Kuminga has been able to turn in some highlight-reel plays in more limited time. One of those came this week, when he went so high for a putback dunk against the Orlando Magic that his head went above the rim.

Teammate Andrew Wiggins had an eye-popping reaction to Kuminga’s dunk, and after the game shared some thoughts on the ultra-athletic teenager.

“Man, he’s special, he’s special. [He has] God-given talent, God-gifted athlete, works hard and there’s nowhere he can’t touch on that backboard, on that rim,” Wiggins said, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

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