When the Warriors selected Jonathan Kuminga as the 7th pick in the 2021 NBA draft, many questioned how much the 19-year-old rookie could contribute to a roster with championship aspirations.
Kuminga was drafted into a unique situation. Unlike most teams drafting in the lottery, the Warriors already had superstar talent, championship pedigree, and one of the deepest rosters in the league.
Carving out a role on a team consisting of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Andre Iguodala, and a returning Klay Thompson was no easy task. Still, Kuminga has appeared to do it with ease.
The rookie has taken advantage of his opportunities with the absences of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala throughout the season. Kuminga averages 14.7 minutes per contest, 8.1 PPG, 2.9 REBS, and has a field goal percentage of 50.9%.
Kerr praised Kuminga’s rapid improvement during his post-practice press conference.
Without question, the Warriors played their worst brand of basketball in February, losing 4 of 9 games. While the Warriors were treading water heading into the All-Star break, Kuminga began to thrive at the perfect time.
In February, Kuminga has ramped up his production for the blue and gold. He averages 15.4 PPG, 4.8 REBS, and 1.8 AST while converting 58.8% of his field-goal attempts. Additionally, the 19-year-old rookie is having his best month from the charity stripe, converting 73.2% from the line.
With uncertainty surrounding the availability of Andre Iguodala, the Warriors will look to Kuminga to step in his place. Kuminga has showcased his versatility, athleticism, and ability to adapt to different roles throughout the past month.
Steve Kerr will be able to utilize Kuminga the same way he has with Iguodala since 2015, a multi-position player that can generate production on both ends of the floor. The 19-year-old appears to be finding his nitch on this team, and it would be hard to imagine a scenario where he’s not in the Warriors rotation from now on.