Steve Kerr confirms expected decision on Golden State Warriors starting lineup

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors
Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Head coach Steve Kerr has confirmed that he'll continue starting rookie center Trayce Jackson-Davis despite Jonathan Kuminga's successful return to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Having missed six games due to knee tendinitis, Kuminga was back and at his explosive best in a productive 21-point, 10 rebound double-double during the Warriors' 118-110 win over the Utah Jazz at Chase Center.

Third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga appears headed for a bench role over the remainder of the Golden State Warriors' season

Kuminga's injury had led to a promotion for Jackson-Davis whose presence led to a more defensively impactful Draymond Green in his usual power-forward role. The Warriors went 5-1 in Kuminga's absence, having ranked fourth in net rating across the league.

That sort of success was always going to make it difficult for Kuminga to retake his spot, with Kerr confirming after Sunday's game that Jackson-Davis will continue to start alongside Green.

"We want to keep starting Draymond and Trayce for defensive reasons...We really felt good about JK starting for about 30-straight games, but given what's happened over the last couple of weeks, I want to keep starting Trayce."

Steve Kerr

After starting 29-straight games prior to his injury, Kuminga concurs that changing the starting unit is going to be difficult given the team's success over the past fortnight.

"Everything is moving well, why would you want to go away from what's moving well? We're just gonna stick with what's going to help us win and just keep winning games."

Jonathan Kuminga

Prior to his return, Kuminga had averaged 14.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and an assist in 26 games off the bench, in contrast to averaging 17.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 44 games as a starter.

The former seventh overall pick played over 27 minutes against the Jazz, with Kuminga's playing time likely to remain in the high twenties regardless of whether he's starting or coming off the bench. The 21-year-old's importance could even grow as Golden State manage Green's back issue that saw him limited to 21 minutes on Sunday.

The franchise's short and long-term plans for Kuminga have been a constant source of discussion throughout his career, and will likely continue with the athletic forward eligible for a contract extension come the offseason.