With his future at the franchise far from guaranteed past the February 8 trade deadline, Jonathan Kuminga has provided a timely reminder of his importance to the current and future timeline of the Golden State Warriors.
Despite Steve Kerr's controversial decision to move Kuminga back to the bench after 14 consecutive starts, the 21-year-old responded positively across the Warriors' back-to-back in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Jonathan Kuminga has made a strong statement to the Golden State Warriors amid rising trade speculation ahead of the February 8 deadline
Given reports had emerged of his lack of faith in head coach Steve Kerr last week, Kuminga's answer to the benching was to be a fascinating subplot against Chicago. The former seventh overall pick proved a dominant presence in the 140-131 victory, recording 24 points and five rebounds on an efficient 9-of-12 shooting.
Despite Golden State being without five rotation players against the Bucks, Kuminga again came off the bench behind Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric. His response was just as strong though, finishing with a career-high 28 points including 17 in the fourth-quarter.
It could have been more if not for another late-game benching, leaving Warrior fans frustrated for not the first time this season. Kuminga was subbed off for Kevon Looney with 4:37 remaining, only returning with just over 90 seconds to play and a Milwaukee win all but assured.
Although Kuminga's back-to-back games may have provided the boldest statement of his value to the franchise, it's all part of a much greater span of consistent production from the athletic forward.
Kuminga now has 19-straight games with at least 10 points, while he's averaged 15.6 points and 5.0 rebounds on 56.5% shooting from the field over his last 15 outings. According to @KumingaMuse on X (formerly Twitter), Kuminga is one of only four players to average 15+ points on 55/35/80 shooting splits since the start of 2024. The other three are multi-time All-Stars Nikola Jokic, Paul George and Pascal Siakam.
Speaking of Siakam -- the 29-year-old remains the biggest name to monitor from a Golden State perspective before the trade deadline. According to ESPN's Marc. J Spears on Friday, any Siakam acquisition would require Kuminga in the trade.
The third-year forward's recent form may only increase his name in trade discussions, largely because of a number of outspoken Warrior fans detesting the idea. Recent reports suggest Golden State are loathe to trade Kuminga, yet they may not have a choice if the franchise wishes to make a significant move before the deadline.
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