Coming off an impressive regular season before a disappointing playoff campaign, Jonathan Kuminga presents as one of the most fascinating players entering the Golden State Warriors’ 2023-24 season.
The 20-year-old averaged nearly 21 minutes in an exciting regular season, but was controversially axed from Steve Kerr’s rotation come playoff time. Now entering his third year, Kuminga could prove one of the major swing factors in how far the Warriors can go this season.
One of the Golden State Warriors’ crucial offseason signings may provide Jonathan Kuminga the opportunity to flourish into a consistent two-way presence.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said he was ‘excited about JK’ following “a really good summer” for the former seventh overall pick.
While Kerr acknowledged the impact veteran point-guard Chris Paul could have on Kuminga’s game, the four-time championship-winning coach also pointed to another of the Warriors’ offseason signings who could open up more opportunity for the talented two-way forward.
"“One thing that happened last year, we didn’t have a shooting big. The year before we had Otto Porter and Beli (Nemanja Bjelica). You can definitely play JK with a shooting big but tougher to play him last year with Draymond (Green) and Loon (Kevon Looney)…I think we have more possibilities this year with Dario (Saric), because of Dario’s ability to pass and space the floor as a big”, Kerr said."
Kerr was desperately crying out for a shooting big last season, even turning to JaMychal Green to start two games in their second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. The 33-year-old did shoot 37.8% from deep last season, but his impact was inconsistent and paled in comparison to Porter and even Bjelica the year prior.
In Dario Saric, the Warriors have an immensely talented offensive big man who provides a neat contrast to the defensive nature of Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. While some would argue Saric and Kuminga could be battling for minutes in the same frontcourt, as Kerr outlines, they could also help provide chances for one another with their complimenting skill sets.
Kuminga himself shot an above average 37% from three-point range last season, but his perimeter jumpshot is far from a threat for opposing defenses. His defense and athleticism could prove critical next to Saric though, with the mix of the Warrior second unit looking like a much better fit than at the same point 12 months ago.
With an aging core characterized by four players 33 or older, Kerr will no doubt lean on Kuminga for increased responsibility during a long regular season. Kuminga and the Warriors will begin their preseason with a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 7.