The Golden State Warriors have one of the best rosters in the NBA with superstar guard Stephen Cury leading the way in a motion offense that, at its best, takes advantage of the 3-point shot and a bit of finesse.
But coach Steve Kerr’s group lacked brute physicality at the wing position coming into this season, especially with the advanced age of forward Andre Iguodala. When the Warriors drafted the tall, athletic Jonathan Kuminga with the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft this year, he figured to provide a boost in what the Warriors lacked. But with Kuminga just 19 years old, it was hard to predict when that boost would come.
Well, it’s happening now, slowly but surely. Though Kuminga (6-foot-7, 220 pounds) missed an opportunity at the hoop to tie the score late in the Warriors’ loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday, his physicality and ability near the basket were evident.
We can consider Kerr to be impressed. Here’s part of what he said about Kuminga after the Nuggets loss.
“Love when he’s attacking the rim because he’s one of the best athletes in the league. But probably not going to get that call at this stage in his career. But I thought Jonathan did a lot of good things. All these minutes are great for him. He’s going to be up and down and there’s going to be good nights and tough nights, but they’re all really productive minutes for his growth.”–coach Steve KerrThe Athletic
Best athletes in the league? It’s a bold statement, but I can dig it.
Now, the key for Kerr is to play Kuminga in the right spots. Since the Warriors are on the hunt for a championship this season, Kerr can’t let Kuminga’s inexperience hurt the club. Though Kuminga missed a big (and difficult) shot late against the Nuggets, that game was a great example for Kerr, with Kuminga earning a positive plus/minus rating in the contest.
But it looks as though the Warriors hit a home run in their selection of Kuminga. He’s a premier athlete, and he has an advanced feel for the game for his age. Come playoff time, he could make a significant impact. One step at a time, however, for the super athletic but raw Kuminga.