Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga Airs Grievances Over Steve Kerr’s ‘Confusing’ Move

Jonathan Kuminga, Warriors

Getty Jonathan Kuminga #00 of the Golden State Warriors on the bench.

Golden State Warriors third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga is in the midst of a career year. But he feels he is more than capable of playing more than 21.7 minutes and averaging 12.5 points per game.

“Me with the ball,” Kuminga told The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II, “Nobody’s guarding me.”

“But sometimes,” Kuminga added, “I’ve gotta take that away to make sure my OGs get the ball. That’s where it’s confusing. Sometimes, I come out of the game not knowing what I did. And that messes with my head. It’s like, ‘What do they want me to do?’ I can pass and I can do different s—.”

That’s what happened when Andrew Wiggins returned after missing two games. The veteran Wiggins cut into Kuminga’s minutes, especially in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Wiggins Over Jonathan Kuminga

Despite removing Wiggins from the starting lineup, Warriors coach Steve Kerr still leaned on the veteran in their closing lineup.

That was the case during their 120-114 loss to defending champion Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day.

Wiggins rewarded Kerr’s faith with 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as he repeatedly took advantage of the smaller Jamal Murray.

But the Warriors fell short because they went cold outside, hitting only 1 of 11 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The “Splash Brothers” — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — were a combined 6 of 23 from deep, including 1 of 8 in the fourth quarter, in the loss.

Kuminga, who did not attempt a basket during his more than three minutes of court time in the fourth quarter, felt he could have helped attacking the gaps on Nuggets defense.

Just as he did in the first three quarters when he scored 13 points on 4 of 8 shooting and 5 of 8 from the free throw line.

“Yeah, I am a difference-maker,” Kuminga told Thompson II. “I know I am. But it’s not up to me to do certain things. How can I say it? It’s not up to me to control my minutes. I feel like I’ve done that. But the last voice ain’t mine. And it’s not easy because I know how to score the basketball. I know how to pass. I know how to do different things on the floor. But it’s about putting all that together. With the people we have on the floor, it’s just tough to put it all together. I’m trying to figure out how to manage that.”

In short, he is pointing his fingers at Kerr for holding him back. The five-time champion coach, who is having a difficult time shuffling this deep Warriors roster, refuses to play Wiggins and Kuminga together.

Kuminga ended up playing 23 minutes to Wiggins’ 29 on Christmas Day. It was Kuminga’s shortest leash since a 19-minute stint in a 118-114 win over Portland on December 17.

Steve Kerr Blasts Officiating

Kuminga’s gripes were the least of Kerr’s concerns following the loss that snapped their five-game winning streak.

His focus was on the league’s officiating, which allowed two-time MVP Nikola Jokic to make a career-high 18 of 18 free throws, including 14 in the second half.

“I have no problem with the officials themselves,” Kerr said in his postgame press conference. “All across the league, we have really good officials. I have a problem with the way we are legislating defense out of the game. That’s what we’re doing in the NBA. The way we are teaching the officials, we’re just enabling players to BS their way to the foul line.”

The Warriors’ defense did a tremendous job holding Jokic to a measly 4 of 12 shooting from the floor. But the 18 free throws hurt them the most.


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