Jonathan Kuminga's 19 points against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday marked his 13th-straight game with at least 10+ points, 10 of which have come since he entered the Golden State Warriors starting lineup last month.
After a poor showing against the Miami Heat last week that included an equal career-high six turnovers, Kuminga produced one of his best games against the Magic in a much-needed 121-115 victory.
The third-year forward played a season-high 34 minutes, adding six rebounds, four assists and two blocks to his 19 points. While there's still some inconsistencies and frustration among his game, Kuminga's stretch as a starter should be regarded as a positive one so far for he and the Warriors.
Steve Kerr's trust in Jonathan Kuminga will be further tested when Draymond Green returns to the Golden State Warriors lineup
Speaking after the game, Kuminga credited the trust shown in him from head coach Steve Kerr. That's a major development given it's been a much discussed element across the 21-year-old's career to date.
""I mean it's pretty much about reps. Everyday reps, film, practice and stuff like that. Just having that trust from coach Kerr, that's just what's helping me to keep going," Kuminga said."
Tuesday's game was just the second time this season Kuminga has played more than 30 minutes. The trust from Kerr has come-and-gone at various points over the past two years, with that faith set to be tested more over the next month.
While he may be battling with Andrew Wiggins for the same starting role right now, the return of Draymond Green will also pose a threat to Kuminga's spot in the opening five. That is likely to prove a conundrum for Golden State in a month that could be critical to their short and long-term plans.
Kuminga's mostly impressive play has opened the question of whether Green should automatically return to the starting lineup, and is the athletic forward the one to make way if so? Will they both start together as was the case in the second-half of Green's last game against the Phoenix Suns?
Then you have the trade speculation that's inevitably growing ahead of the February 8 deadline. Kuminga is still the franchise's most valuable young player, while reports have suggested the Warriors may be willing to move on from Wiggins. Even Green may not completely safe given the drama he's caused Golden State this season.
The Warriors have questions to face with almost every part of the roster over the next month, but the Kuminga-Wiggins-Green pieces may be the biggest conundrum they face -- who remains on the team post deadline and who's a starter going forward? The better Kuminga plays over the next few weeks, the harder and more important these questions become.
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