Warriors’ Top Draft Pick May Make NBA Debut vs. Thunder

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Getty Golden State Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga during Media Day on September 27, 2021.

The Golden State Warriors play the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second time in five days on Saturday and this time, they might be able to show off their 2021 No. 7 overall draft pick.

19-year-old forward Jonathan Kuminga has been battling a right knee injury that he suffered during a preseason win over the Denver Nuggets on October 6, but he has been making progress in his recovery and is probable to suit up on Saturday. Head coach Steve Kerr said on Friday that the lottery selection would be a game-time decision for the home contest.

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While Kuminga could make his NBA debut against the Thunder, the timetables for fellow recovering teammates James Wiseman and Klay Thompson are a bit different. Neither Wiseman nor Thompson have a set date for their much-anticipated returns to the court, but it’s likely that the big man will see the court first.

Barring a setback, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Wiseman back in action in the coming weeks, or early part of the winter, while Thompson could be another two or three months, or mid-winter.


Kuminga: ‘It’s One of the Biggest Days for [My Family], Not Just Me’

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GettyGolden State Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga and his family during the 2021 NBA Draft.

Following the team’s practice on Friday, Kuminga spoke of his eagerness to finally make his NBA debut.

“It’s not just for me, it’s for everybody that looks up to me. My family back home, my brothers, everybody,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest days for them, not just me. It’s going to be my first NBA game, and I feel like I’ve been working and preparing for this moment since I was a kid. And it’s going to happen tomorrow, so I’m really excited about it.”

Though there’s certainly a chance that Kuminga gets to take the floor for a regular season game for the first time at the Chase Center on Saturday, Kerr didn’t want to make assumptions.

“He’s a possibility to go tomorrow,” the coach said, noting that the final call wouldn’t be made until after Kuminga’s pregame workout.

Listed at 6’8′ and 210 pounds, Kuminga’s role on the team and on the court isn’t yet clear. Especially without Wiseman, the Warriors are generally considered a small-ball team, so the Congolese player’s length could help them in the frontcourt.

With plenty of muscle still to add, and some other Western Conference big forwards like Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson to contend with for years to come, the Dubs will surely want to choose their matchups wisely for the rookie.

“I’m willing to go out there and play as hard as I can,” Kuminga said. “Especially, to help the team to win the way they want me to play, and just give it all I got on the court.”


Damion Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson Both Questionable

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GettyDesmond Bane of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket against Damion Lee of the Golden State Warriors during a game on October 28, 2021.

With Kuminga possibly getting some playing time on Saturday, two other important pieces of the Dubs’ rotation who have each played in all five games so far are questionable for the bout.

Damion Lee, who is third on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game, went down with a shoulder contusion during Golden State’s overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday and didn’t practice on Friday. If Lee were to sit, rookie Moses Moody would reportedly likely be called back up to the NBA after being assigned to the organization’s G-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors on Friday.

Moody had an impressive debut in Santa Cruz.

Moody has played in three NBA games thus far, earning 10 minutes of court time, making 1-of-3 field goals, grabbing two rebounds and recording two assists.

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