Jonathan Kuminga was one of the main talking points from the Golden State Warriors preseason opener, leading the team in scoring during the team’s win 125-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The third-year forward was dynamic on the offensive end, knocking down four triples and flying to the rim on a couple of occasions on his way to 24 points on 8-14 shooting. Yet that wasn’t necessarily the key to his game, with Kuminga’s rebounding an exciting element that coaches and fans have been hoping to see.
Jonathan Kuminga’s rebounding will key in unlocking a consistent and solidified role in the Golden State Warriors rotation this season.
The 21-year-old hasn’t quite utilized his size and athleticism effectively on the glass across his first two seasons, but it was a much-improved aspect against the Lakers on Saturday night.
Kuminga made a concerted effort of being a presence on the boards, racking in eight rebounds throughout a near 24-minute performance that could signify major growth entering his third NBA season.
Speaking after the game, Kuminga detailed the lengths he’s been going to in ensuring he becomes a more consistent and impactful rebounder for the Warriors this season.
"“That’s something I’ve really been working on. If I don’t do it in practice, they stop practice. It’s been a consistent thing every single day. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m working on it…Crashing every single time. Not standing, not watching when the ball go up,” Kuminga said."
Kuminga’s rebounding was part of a more coordinated effort on the glass for Golden State in the 17-point win. With the general lack of size on the roster, some of Steve Kerr’s small-ball lineups will require a team-based approach on the boards.
The former seventh overall pick led the way with his eight rebounds, but rookie guard Brandin Podziemski also showcased his knack for the ball with six boards. In the starting lineup, Kevon Looney’s five rebounds were ably supported by four apiece for Chris Paul and Klay Thompson.
Having displayed his ability on the glass, consistency will now be crucial for Kuminga with Steve Kerr stating, “we want that to continue.” The 6’7″ forward averaged nearly 21 minutes per game last regular season, but could quickly explode to a 25+ minute player if the talent continues to fulfill.