Golden State Warriors' forward surges into contention for major NBA award

Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets
Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets / Al Bello/GettyImages

While the Golden State Warriors remain stuck in a hole at 11th in the Western Conference, Jonathan Kuminga's recent emergence has provided a level of optimism surrounding the franchise moving forward.

The third-year forward is quickly rising to stardom, having elevated to the Warriors' second scoring option next to two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Kuminga and Curry have been the league's top scoring duo over the last 10 games, with the former averaging 24.9 points and 6.7 rebounds on 58.3% shooting during that span.

Jonathan Kuminga's emergence is catching attention in league circles, with the athletic forward rising into contention for Most Improved Player

After his start to the season remain plagued by inconsistent playing opportunity, Kuminga has become a consistent presence for Golden State with nine 20-point games in his last 10 outings.

The 21-year-old's recent play has begun to be recognized externally, with Kuminga rising into a contender for the NBA's Most Improved Player award. Fanduel Sportsbook currently has the former seventh overall pick as fourth favorite for the award at +3400 odds.

Bookmakers would suggest Tyrese Maxey is a strong favorite for the award, while Alperun Sengun and Coby White round out the top three in favortism according to FanDuel. Yet with 35 games still to play for Golden State, there's plenty of time for Kuminga to strengthen his candidacy.

Having averaged four more minutes per game, Kuminga has lifted his scoring from 9.9 last season to 15.4 in 2023-24. His rebounding numbers are also up from 3.4 to 4.7, as are his steals and field-goal percentage.

Those numbers are only expected to continue rising, with Kuminga having averaged nearly 33 minutes per game over his last 10 appearances. He's become a pivotal part of Golden State's hopes of lifting into playoff contention, having gone for 28 points and 10 rebounds in an important win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

Kuminga is also ninth-favorite for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award according to FanDuel. He's come off the bench in 26 of his 46 games this season, though his starting spot now seems secure to the point where he'll be ineligible for that award.