After a tough first half of the season, Warriors’ rookie Jonathan Kuminga has seemingly figured out how to make an impact in this league. His talent has always been undeniable, and his ability to power through opponents get to the rim has given fans hope of a bright future.
However, he is still super raw. Kuminga would often over think and throw the ball away earlier in the season. Kuminga was like a player in NBA 2K, where they were always on turbo, and didn’t know when to pick and choose their spots.
Since February started, Kuminga has scored in double figures in all seven games. The absence of Draymond Green has allowed the 19-year-old to get consistent minutes without the pressure of getting pulled out of the game too quickly.
Well, the NBA seems to have noticed. Shams Charania of the Athletic was the first to report that Kuminga was selected to replace Pacer’s Chris Duarte during the All-Star Weekend. Duarte will be sidelined with a toe injury.
Initially, snubbed from making the Rising Stars roster, fans and players alike have wondered how the NBA could have missed such an easy selection.
One Teammate Has Been Singing Kuminga Praise for Awhile
Klay Thompson has been clamoring for weeks for the league to get the rookie into the Rising Stars game during All-Star Weekend. When asked last week about Kuminga’s talent, Thompson was quick to mention some key strengths about his game, before quickly drawing to attention to why the rookie was snubbed from the Rising Stars game.
“His floor game. He’s so good around the rim. He’s really good in the post. His jump shot is very fluid. His IQ, to be 19 and make the impact he does, it’s a travesty he’s not in the rookie-sophomore game. That just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know what the NBA was looking for in that one.”
Just the other night, Thompson reiterated how he didn’t understand why the seventh overall pick was snubbed after Kuminga was matched up against LeBron James and held his own.
“Isn’t that crazy [Kuminga] is not gonna be in the Rising Stars game? He just guarded LeBron James…for however many minutes. Gave us 18 on 11 shots and almost a double-double. Like how many 19-year-olds are doing that? I don’t know, I wasn’t doing that at 19 or 20. Warriors fans should be very excited for our future. He does things that cannot be taught.”
The support from Thompson and teammates has been super genuine. Even with a roster loaded with talent, veterans want to see rookies like him succeed, and this will be key for Kuminga to thrive once the veterans are gone.
Kuminga’s Next Matchup Will be Noteworthy
The Warriors wrap up play before the All-Star Break when they host the Denver Nuggets tonight in San Francisco. Kuminga is expected to start once again, and will be matched up at times against the defending MVP Nikola Jokic. The rookie may be undersized against the Joker, but don’t let that fool you. His brunt force and ability to play through opponents has similarities with Zion Williamson’s bully ball style.
The more minutes the Congolense gets on the court, the quicker his development will be. Matching up against superstars like LeBron James and Jokic is exactly what Kuminga needs, if he wants to take his game to the next level.