NBA shuts down huge part of Jonathan Kuminga's journey to the Golden State Warriors

G League Ignite v Westchester Knicks
G League Ignite v Westchester Knicks / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

The NBA has announced it is shutting down the G League Ignite at the end of the season, just four years after it's inception that included Golden State Warriors' forward Jonathan Kuminga play in their inaugural campaign.

The program was implemented to allow young players to take a different pathway to the NBA, giving them an opportunity to earn a salary and face experienced opposition rather than take the traditional collegiate route.

The Golden State Warriors took Jonathan Kuminga seventh overall in the 2021 NBA Draft after his one season with the G League Ignite

Kuminga became one of the first high-end young talents to join Ignite, with the athletic forward averaging 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and a steal in nearly 33 minutes across 13 games for the team.

Despite shooting just 38.7% from the floor and 24.6% from three-point range, Kuminga's talent was clearly evident as the Warriors selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Kuminga was one of three players to be drafted from the Ignite's inaugural squad, with Jalen Green taken second overall by the Houston Rockets and Isaiah Todd drafted 31st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kuminga's growth in his third season with the Warriors suggests he may be on track to become the best and most notable player from the Ignite program. Other top ten picks from the team include Dyson Daniels in 2022 and Scoot Henderson in 2023. Kuminga is also the only Ignite player to go on to win an NBA championship at this stage.

In a statement on Thursday, NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said it was the right time for the program to cease after a disastrous fourth season that sees Ignite hold an easily league-worst 2-28 record.

"Four years ago, we started Ignite to fill a void in the basketball landscape, and I'm proud of the contributions we were able to make to that ecosystem. With the changing environment across youth and collegiate basketball, now is the right time to take this step."

Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Kuminga has developed into one of the NBA's most improved players this season, having averaged 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 26 minutes per game, while shooting 53.4% from the floor.