Jonathan Kuminga has undoubtedly been one of the bright spots for the Golden State Warriors this season. His defense and ability to play off the ball has been elite, defying his age and the expectations of many who saw him as more of a project player.
Not only has his defense been at a high-level, but the offense has progressed to the point where Steve Kerr has shown further faith in Kuminga and rewarded him with more minutes. He’s produced greatly in big games and moments this season, cementing himself as a playoff rotation player should the Warriors make it.
He has garnered high-level comparisons already in his young career, with many seeing similarities to Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green and even Giannis Antetokounmpo. After a shaky start to the season, Kuminga is beginning to justify those comparisons.
Jonathan Kuminga is producing exciting numbers when given significant minutes in the Golden State Warriors’ rotation this season.
In games where he plays 20+ minutes, Kuminga has been putting up some impressive numbers — 13.1 points, four rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. In comparison at 20 years of age, Antetokounmpo averaged 12.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals and one block per game.
While his numbers were better, especially when it comes to rebounding, Antetokounmpo also played five more minutes per game than in Kuminga’s 20+ minute outings. Another star who put up similar stats was a 22-year-old Kawhi Leonard — The Klaw averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, two assists, 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.
We’re talking about Finals MVPs and future Hall of Famers — elite comparisons for the rising star. Comparisons can even be made to a 23-year-old Scottie Pippen. The first and easiest criticism is going to be “of course he will get more minutes in games where he’s playing well.” While this is true, most of the games where he hasn’t played 20 minutes were early in the season, or when he’s found himself in foul trouble.
Kerr lacked trust in Kuminga early in the season, often due to being foul happy and some questionable decision-making on offense. Since earning a solid place in the rotation, he’s grown into a more consistent two-way player and has often been a primary defender for players like Kyrie Irving, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic and Antetokounmpo.
Kuminga is a player with an incredibly high ceiling on both ends of the floor, with stats comparable to multiple Hall of Fame caliber players at a similar age. No one’s expecting him to be Antetokounmpo-esq, but he does look like someone who can be the centerpiece of the next iteration of the Warriors’ dynasty.