While the Golden State Warriors continue to face an uphill battle to make the playoffs, the recent emergence of Jonathan Kuminga is providing a much more positive outlook on the franchise's short and long-term goals.
Kuminga's recent form has been one of the most notable storylines across the league, let alone for the Warriors who've desperately been searching for a second star to partner Stephen Curry. The third-year forward may not be there yet, but the last few weeks would suggest he's well on the way.
Draymond Green's comments on Jonathan Kuminga suggest a new era is on the horizon for the Golden State Warriors
The recent numbers have been that of a star-level player. Tuesday's 26-point outing was Kuminga's seventh consecutive 20-point game, with the 21-year-old averaging 25.1 points over that stretch. Kuminga joins two-time MVP Nikola Jokic as the only two players in the league to average 25 points on 60% shooting since January 12.
After an inconsistent first couple seasons, Kuminga is coming into his own as a dominant player. His stature around the league is growing, and his standing at the franchise was perfectly illustrated by a comment from Draymond Green after Tuesday's win.
"We had older guys ride our legs for years...but now it's his turn. He's going to carry us some now and I think that's the maturation process. That's why you draft a young guy like that with the seventh pick because the roles will reverse and you're starting to see that. He's starting to carry us more than we're carrying him. "- Draymond Green on Jonathan Kuminga
Just weeks ago it appeared Kuminga's time at the Warriors was coming to an end. Now, he's a top three player on the team and quickly rising into one of the league's brightest young players.
Ironically, Golden State's much-publicized two-timeline approach is starting to come to fruition, perhaps just later than they'd originally hoped. In Green's own words, Kuminga is starting to "carry us some" in reference to the team's veteran players.
You might go as far to say Kuminga is the Warriors' second-best player now, and although he's a long way away from taking the mantle from Stephen Curry, he can become a suitable running mate that belies their 15-year age gap.
It appears less and less likely that Golden State are going to make any significant trade before the deadline, leaving Kuminga and a newfound starting lineup as the backbone of improvement over the remainder of the season.