Not for the first time season, Jonathan Kuminga was almost a lone positive in a Golden State Warriors road loss. In a 133-119 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on Saturday, the second-year forward again showed elements of his growing stardom.
Kuminga looked as if he’d record a career-high after a sparking first three-quarters, but he wasn’t immune to his team’s fading performance in the final period. The Grizzlies exploded on a 21-3 run to turn a two-point game into a blowout win.
Jonathan Kuminga’s development is something the Golden State Warriors can take with them in what otherwise appears as a wasted season.
The 20-year-old did it from the outside to ignite a stuttering Warrior offense in the first period, nailing all three of his attempts from deep to have 11 points within his opening five minutes on the floor. Kuminga led the Warriors with 15 points in the first-half, helping them remain within 12 despite giving up 71 points.
Kuminga had another nine points in the third-quarter, with he and Jordan Poole leading a Warrior renaissance to bring the deficit back to four heading to the final period. On a night where the perimeter games of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were out of sync, Golden State relied heavily on Poole and Kuminga’s ability to get to the rim, draw contract, and get to the free-throw line.
The former seventh overall pick finished with 24 points in his 30 minutes of action, also adding eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. He shot an even 50% from the floor including 4-for-7 from downtown in a game where his teammates otherwise went 9-for-28 (32.1%) from three-point range.
It wasn’t the perfect game but that’s all part and parcel for a still very much developing player. Kuminga had an embarrassing moment in the third when he seemingly had a wide-open dunk in transition, only to fumble the ball out of bounds after unnecessarily focusing on the trailing defender. He also had a couple of needless fouls and missed two of his six free-throw attempts.
Kuminga has now averaged 14 points on 42.4% three-point shooting in his last 15 games, demonstrating a distinct improvement in his perimeter shot. After missing multiple games dealing with an ankle issue, it’s good to see him back at his impactful best.