The Warriors’ loss to the Raptors on Saturday served as a bit of a dress rehearsal for the team’s lesser-used players, with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and others sitting out to catch up on rest.
But that appeared alright with rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga. He stole the show and looked like a future superstar and potential face of the franchise down the road.
Kuminga started the game and led the Warriors in scoring with a career-high 26 points. He looked dynamic around the hoop with multiple eye-popping dunks, and he shot 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Over 36 minutes of play he did commit six turnovers, but he also had two steals, two assists, and a rebound.
At a height of 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Kuminga’s first extended playing time was a reveation. It’s clear that the No. 7 pick in this year’s NBA Draft has elite athleticism and skill at just 19-years old. He won’t even turn 20 until next October.
In fact, Kuminga was the youngest Warrior ever to score more than 20 points in a game.
Here’s his signature highlight from the game, courtesy of the Warriors.
That was awesome. Another aspect of Kuminga’s performance I loved was that he seemed to take the presence of Scottie Barnes — the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, three spots ahead of Kuminga — personally. Here he is scoring over Barnes in the paint before his first big dunk pictured above.
That’s great stuff. Barnes seemed to know what was up, too, paying extra attention to Kuminga to little avail.
The Warriors really have something here in Kuminga, and it’s exciting. He’s young, so he’s on the raw side when it comes to prospects. But in Golden State, that’s okay. All he has to do early in his career is gain enough confidence to play a role down the stretch and in the playoffs. He has athleticism that no other player on the team has and will be valuable even in limited minutes.
Eventually, however, he looks like he could be the leading man at Golden State. And that’s a big freaking deal. It’s just one more aspect of the season that’s going well for the Warriors, in a campaign that has had its share of magic already.
(Final score: 119-100)