A rough period for the Golden State Warriors has been thrown into further chaos, with the NBA suspending Draymond Green for five games after his headlock on Rudy Gobert early in Tuesday night's loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Green's absence is a further blow for a Warrior team currently on a four-game losing-streak, but at the very least it could provide extra playing opportunity for a host of the team's younger players.
The Golden State Warriors have been urged to provide a sink-or-swim period for Jonathan Kuminga in the absence of veteran forward Draymond Green.
The ejection of Green and Klay Thompson less than two minutes into Tuesday's game immediately provided more playing time for rookie guard Brandin Podziemski. The 19th overall pick played a stunning 39 minutes, scoring 23 points on 9-18 shooting -- the most points scored by a Warrior not named Stephen Curry this season.
However, third-year players Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody didn't quite feel the same benefit, each playing less than 16 minutes in the 104-101 defeat. Kuminga, in particular, hasn't quite lived up to the preseason hype where he averaged the second-most point in the league.
Despite scoring double-digits in nine of his 11 games, the former seventh overall pick is actually averaging less minutes than he did through a promising but equally turbulent 2022-23 season. Kuminga has played more than 21 minutes just once in the last six games.
Speaking on the Warriors Plus Minus podcast, The Athletic's Tim Kawakami urged Golden State head coach Steve Kerr to get a definitive answer on Kuminga's potential impact by guaranteeing him 25 minutes a game during Green's absence.
"Whatever time Draymond is out, use that to say, 'you know what Kuminga, you're programmed to get 25 minutes. That is what you're getting. You can really be crappy, you can be great, you're getting 25,'" Kawakami said."
Despite his lack of playing time, Kuminga is still the third-leading scorer on the Warriors behind Curry and Thompson. However, the 21-year-old is shooting just 39.6% from the floor and a paltry 17.4% from three-point range.
Although Croatian big man Dario Saric is expected to start in the absence of Green, Kuminga should be provided a sink-or-swim opportunity to prove his worth. After all, Golden State desperately need his size, athleticism and general scoring ability.
Kawakami and colleagues Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson also bemoaned the lack of playing time for Moody who recorded 11 points, two rebounds and two assists in less than 14 minutes against the Timberwolves.