As the 2022 playoffs continue to near, the Golden State Warriors will be taking on the Denver Nuggets in the first round.
A lot of attention has been on the health of Stephen Curry and rightfully so. However, I think another storyline that needs to be addressed is the playoff rotation. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga has made his case to join the playoff rotation.
Jonathan Kuminga has made it difficult to keep him out of the playoff rotation with his recent play. Could a 19-year-old help the Warriors championship run?
Steve Kerr had expressed his displeasure with the continued questions about his lineups. Saying today, “leave me alone”. Whether or not he starts Jordan Poole isn’t actually the biggest issue with rotations.
Coach Kerr at times late in this season has kept Jonathan Kuminga out of games he should have been playing heavy minutes in. To me, it almost seemed like Kerr was doing everything in his power to find his playoff lineups without using the 19-year-old rookie.
The Rookie or the Vet?
Kuminga is young and still a very raw player. But what he brings to this team, in my opinion, is much more valuable than Damion Lee or even Nemanja Bjelica. The problem is, the Warriors would lack some serious size without Bjelica.
The game against San Antonio made me take a step back and dive into this situation. Kuminga was Golden State’s best player in the first half of that game.
After not playing in the first quarter, Kuminga responded in a major way In the second quarter. In 10 straight minutes of game time, Kuminga rattled off 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and was a +14.
Even after that, Kuminga didn’t make an appearance in the third quarter. Once again, that did not matter as Kuminga added a couple more threes in the fourth quarter for good measure. He finished the season making 7 out of his last 9 3-point attempts.
Second Half Resurgence
The second half of the season was a major improvement for Kuminga.
In his last 51 games of the season, he averaged 11.6 points to go along with 4 rebounds in just about 20 minutes per game, doing so while shooting 36% from 3 and 52% from the field. Kuminga has surprised many people with how efficient he’s been.
Steve Kerr has acknowledged the fact that Jonathan Kuminga could get major minutes in the playoffs. I think it’s a no-brainer, especially if the Dubs face injury trouble or some inconsistent play from other role players.