Jonathan Kuminga could repeat Golden State Warriors' history over next period

Brooklyn Nets v Golden State Warriors
Brooklyn Nets v Golden State Warriors / Kavin Mistry/GettyImages

When two-time All-Star David Lee suffered a hamstring injury in the final preseason game of 2014, it opened a pathway for a franchise-altering moment that's still being felt today.

Lee's injury presented a starting opportunity for then third-year forward Draymond Green, one he took vigorously with both hands. Green would never relinquish the starting power-forward spot, finishing second in Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved voting that season.

Could Jonathan Kuminga repeat Golden State Warriors' history by taking the starting power-forward spot from Draymond Green?

Nearly 10 years removed from Green's ascension in the wake of injury, could the four-time All-Star be on the precipice of being on the other side of the equation? Rather than injury, Green has made himself absent through another unsportsmanlike act, leading to an indefinite suspension from the league earlier in the week.

Jonathan Kuminga is starting in his place, and will do for at least the next few games. Like Green was in 2014-15, Kuminga is in his third-year having averaged a similar amount of minutes in their respective second seasons.

The 21-year-old is in the middle of his best stretch of the season, even prior to Green's suspension that opens up more minutes. He was out of the rotation completely in the first-half against the Portland Trail Blazers last week, yet has since made his presence felt despite Golden State's ongoing struggles.

Jonathan Kuminga
Golden State Warriors' forward Jonathan Kuminga in action against the LA Clippers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Kuminga had 13 points in the second-half against the Trail Blazers, helping to lift the Warriors out of a major predicament. He followed that with 24 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 16 points and 6 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns, and 15 points and five boards against the LA Clippers.

The former seventh overall pick has recorded a positive plus-minus in six of his last seven games, that despite Golden State having won just two of them. Fans have been patiently waiting for a sustained run of significant and consistent minutes for Kuminga, and now appears to be the time.

But could it be more than just a temporary stint in the starting lineup until Green's return? Not necessarily. If Kuminga plays well and the Warriors can find some winning form, then re-inserting the 33-year-old may not be a foregone conclusion.

On FanDuel's Run It Back earlier in the week, The Athletic's Shams Charania was asked whether Kuminga could keep that spot even once Green comes back. He responded, "1000%."

Green became one of best defenders and one of the most improved players in the league in 2014-15, before helping the Warriors to their first title in 40 years. That's not to say Kuminga will achieve those feats, particularly given we're over a quarter of the way through the season, but we could see a similar transition that has long-term consequences.