Over the last few weeks, Golden State Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga has been on a roll.
Jonathan Kuminga, a 19-year-old rookie for the Golden State Warriors, has had a scoring total in double digits in seven straight games. In those seven games, he shot over 50% from the field in 6 of them.
Kuminga has found a consistent role in the month of February and his play has dramatically improved as well. For the month, he is averaging 15.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game, as well as 0.6 blocks and 0.4 steals on top of those totals.
In many games throughout the month, Kuminga has shown why he is a future star with flashes of incredible finishing ability, defense, and playmaking ability to pair with his already incredible athleticism. It is hard to fathom how good he will be if and when he puts it all together.
One question still remains about the 19-year-old phenom: what role will he play when All-Star Draymond Green returns from his lower back injury?
Green has definitely earned his starting role on the Warriors, being one of the greatest defenders of all time mixed with incredible playmaking ability makes him tough to sit at any point during a game.
Draymond Green also has a heavy impact on winning, the Warriors have a measly 14-10 record without their Defensive Player of the Year candidate. With Green, they sat pretty with the number one seed in the NBA at 38-6.
Clearly, Jonathan Kuminga has not had the winning impact that Draymond Green brings.
Kuminga will likely not start. Although, some have questioned if Kerr will decide to start one of the defensive forwards at the center position.
Both Green and Kuminga have spent time this season playing at the center position as James Wiseman recovers from a torn meniscus. Both have played well in that position, although they can be taken advantage of by players like MVP frontrunners Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
On top of their lack of height, Kevon Looney has been fantastic this season, playing incredible defense and corralling 7.5 rebounds per game. Due to Looney’s excellence in his role this season, Kuminga will most definitely be one of the first players off the bench along with Jordan Poole.
What roles could the rookie forward realistically play in the latter part of the season then?
Jonathan Kuminga has excelled at cutting while off-ball, catching defenders off guard and receiving beautiful dimes from his teammates. He has also excelled at putting in multiple efforts, bringing in an offensive rebound about every other game.
Kuminga will be an energy guy off the bench, defending the best player on the floor when Wiggins and Green sit. In recent games, Kuminga has defended players like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Julius Randle, slowing each of them down.
Another role Kuminga could play is a small ball center option with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green sharing the floor with him to get more threes and speed the game up.
Head coach Steve Kerr often runs a small ball lineup and also typically runs many different lineups in a game to see what sticks. Seeing Kuminga off the bench at any position between small forward and center and playing a variety of different roles for the team is very likely to happen.
No matter what roles Jonathan Kuminga may assume, he will succeed and excel at them all. He is incredibly versatile and has incredible teammates and coaches. He could even be the X-factor in the playoffs for the Warriors.