In the hard recently, the Warriors responded as a boss last night by going to give the Bulls a little basketball lesson. And there was one who shone brighter than the others in the Dubs’ resounding 138-96 victory. Nope, we’re not talking about Stephen Curry, but rookie Jonathan Kuminga.
The seventh pick of the 2021 Draft had already taken advantage of the beating received by the Warriors on the floor of the Bucks on Thursday to stretch his legs and finish with 15 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. But this night, Kuminga dropped outright a masterclass on the United Center floor: 26 minutes of play off the bench, 25 points in total at 10/12 in shooting, including 2/4 from afar and 3/4 in free throws, all this along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 interception and 3 blocks , with zero bullet loss. No doubt, the benchmark performance of Jonathan’s rookie campaign is this one. Admittedly, this is not the first time that he has shone (see his 26-pawn match against the Raptors in mid-December) and that he has been invaluable in the success of Golden State, but this match still does not look like bad for one coming out party for the player of only 19 years old. Because it was the Bulls up front (even though Zach LaVine barely played), because the Warriors desperately needed a boost after four losses in five games (especially without Draymond Green, Klay Thompson or again Gary Payton II), because he was ultra clean while weighing on both sides of the court (DeMar DeRozan had a better night than Friday), because he simply made the difference to allow the Warriors to set sail (+/- of +22). And that, for a rookie, doesn’t happen every day.
Jonathan Kuminga tonight:
He’s now the youngest player to ever score 25 points on 80%+ shooting in NBA history, notably surpassing Dwight Howard and Lamelo Ball. pic.twitter.com/z40vqxKO4o
— 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙁𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙚𝙣 – 𝙆𝙍 (@TheFlareScreen) January 15, 2022
The qualities of the man, we know them. Pure athlete, an already NBA-Ready physique (2m03, 102 kilos), not disgusting in distribution and a great potential as a two-way player. Comparisons with Giannis Antetokounmpo are already starting to fall and even if on our side we refuse to put Kuminga and Giannis in the same sentence for the moment (oops we just did it), it is clear that the kid has the tools to become a player who really weighs in the Big League. And the question of his role at the Warriors is likely to become more and more insistent if he confirms these kinds of performances.he who currently receives only limited minutes off the bench.
“It will manifest itself. It’s hard to predict, but it’s also up to him to maintain that focus to get better, whether he’s playing 25 minutes, playing in the G League, or just coming in for a few minutes. The intensity he showed tonight was incredible and he has to do the same every time he has a chance to play because every opportunity is important for his development, his confidence, his skills. »
–Stephen Curry, via NBC Sports Bay Area
Determined to return to the top this year, Steve Kerr’s Warriors are not really in the “development” mood. There’s a dynasty to revive so Kuminga sometimes has to settle for crumbs, while Moses Moody – the Warriors’ other lottery pick in the last Draft – returned to the G League to do some dirty work (37 and 32 points in his last two games with Santa Cruz). However, every time he’s on the pitch, Jonathan brings an undeniable athletic dimension to the Dubs, and we’re told there’s a scenario where Kuminga gets a consistent role as part of the Warriors second unit. In any case, given what he showed last night, Steve Kerr will seriously have to think about it at some point.
Jonathan Kuminga shone brightly on the United Center floor on Friday. Efficiency, impact on both sides of the pitch, all that while putting on the show properly, in other words, he really made an impression. And if this was the match that will really launch the man’s career?