Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Finally Acknowledged the Elephant in the Room

Jonathan Kuminga, Warriors

Getty Santi Aldama #7 of the Memphis Grizzlies goes to the basket against Jonathan Kuminga #00 of the Golden State Warriors.

There is no more denying it. Golden State Warriors brash and confident third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga has arrived.

Kuminga led the Warriors with 29 points to rout the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies 121-101 on Friday, February 2, on an ultra-efficient 11 of 15 shooting for their first back-to-back win since December.

“JK has just really figured it out and the game has slowed down for him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after another impactful game from Kuminga, “and he’s understanding now when to attack how to attack. He made some good passes tonight. He’s just so powerful and explosive going to the rim and he’s just seeing the floor better than ever.”

Kerr finally acknowledged that Kuminga had arrived.

Steve Kerr Raves About Jonathan Kuminga’s Growth

After clamoring for more playing time, Kuminga is showing Kerr why he deserves it.

His athleticism and rim attacks have given the Warriors a new dimension that made them dangerous. When the Grizzlies zeroed in on Curry and Klay Thompson, Kuminga attacked inside.

“This shows us who we can be,” Kuminga told reporters scoring 20 or more points in 8 straight games and still counting.

During this span, Kuminga averaged 25.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting a ridiculous 63.3% from the field and 56.5% from the 3-point line.

He’s played more than 30 minutes in his last four games — a sign that Kerr finally trusts him.

“This last month, he’s really broken through,” Kerr said, “and it’s just been amazing to watch because it’s two and a half years of a lot of work and ups and downs. He’s stayed with it the whole time. And I’m just so impressed with what he’s done. And he’s really becoming a hell of a player.”

The Warriors’ keys to their immediate future are now in Kuminga’s hands.

Brandin Podziemski Matches Stephen Curry’s Rookie Record

Another player who inspires confidence for the Warriors’ future is rookie guard Brandin Podziemski, selected 19th overall in the last draft.

Podziemski matched Stephen Curry‘s record for most assists made by a Warriors rookie in a single game. The Santa Clara product issued 14 assists without a turnover on top of 12 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.

“I’m a point guard,” Podziemski told the NBC Sports crew during his postgame interview when asked about his career-best 14 assists. “It’s just what I’m supposed to do. My job is to get the team organized, make plays for others and let their confidence grow and blossom.”

A Kuminga-Podziemski 1-2 punch in the post-Curry era is not far-fetched.

“Brandin was great, ” Kerr said. “I mean, he’s just a basketball player. He’s not a point guard,  not [shooting] guard. He’s just a basketball player and the extra ball handling that we have on the floor when he’s out there with Steph [Curry] is really important. And then when Steph goes to the bench, we really need him out there to kind of run the team. So he just knows how to play. He’s had a great rookie season and he’s just getting better.”

The Warriors nailing their draft picks is crucial as they face a mounting luxury tax bill with their high-maintenance dynasty core.

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