Remember widespread recent calls for the Golden State Warriors to add a proven secondary scorer and creator? All signs point to the Dubs largely standing pat at the trade deadline, content to play out a tumultuous 2023-24 season with the personnel status quo behind Stephen Curry.

A sobering appraisal of the Warriors' standing in a loaded Western Conference has sparked that likely development as much as anything else. With difference-makers like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby already off the block, there's just no prudence behind Mike Dunleavy Jr. and the front office pushing their chips in for a desperate win-now trade before February 8th—especially with a potentially transformative summer looming.

Another plausible realization among Golden State higher-ups driving that staid potential approach at the deadline? The notion this team's best means of leveling up toward contention over the season's remainder has already been put into place.

Jonathan Kuminga's ongoing rise accelerated when Steve Kerr shifted him back to the bench in mid-January, prioritizing him as a primary scoring option. A lasting and long-awaited commitment to the Dubs' “peak” starting lineup followed less than two weeks later, but Kuminga's role didn't change. He's still being emphasized as an offensive focal point next to Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, absolutely thriving playing off a core four that led the Warriors to another title barely more than a year-and-a-half ago.

Don't get confused. Everything the Dubs are doing offensively still revolves around the singular threat Curry poses to defenses. They've just unleashed Kuminga as the most frequent, direct beneficiary of that game-changing dynamic—and to increasingly devastating effect.

Dubs lean into Jonathan Kuminga, Andrew Wiggins ball screens from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson

Warriors, Stephen Curry, Jonathan Kuminga

Odds are against Kuminga ever developing the court sense needed to be a good team's top playmaker. Passing reads and execution can be honed, but basketball's very best creators enter the league with the type of feel and processing speed finding teammates and manipulating defenses that can't be taught. Just like LeBron James, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic don't grow on trees, neither do elite ancillary playmakers like Green and Andre Iguodala.

Kuminga doesn't map the floor with the innate vision of those Warriors luminaries. But the imminent pressure his blend of burst, strength and bounce puts on defenses off the dribble inevitably sparks advantage situations that can be easily exploited, and Golden State is leaning harder than ever into manufacturing them with basketball's most effective screener playing the other side of pick-and-rolls.

Watch how scared Keegan Murray is to leave Curry as he sets a second ball screen for Kuminga in this staggered action from the Warriors' heartbreaking overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings on January 25th.

The Memphis Grizzlies were even more aggressive sticking to Curry during Golden State's blowout win on Friday. Top-locking the greatest shooter of all-time is a recipe to surrender open shots when he's setting screens on the ball.

It's not just Kuminga and Curry who've been feasting on the unique way most foes have been guarding the Splash Brothers. Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson are eating out of inverted pick-and-rolls of late, too.

Before the Warriors embarked on their current five-game road trip, Kerr explained why they're relying more than ever on inverted pick-and-rolls for Kuminga and Wiggins.

“We’re looking at the way people are guarding Steph and Klay and looking at the lineups we’re playing, and it just makes some sense to try to give space to JK and Wiggs to get them downhill,” he told ClutchPoints on Thursday. “Playing the lineup that we’re playing allows us to do that as well ‘cause Draymond is so good off the ball as a hit-and-handback guy, hit-and-keep, cutter from the weak-side. Draymond sees the game so well. So the more we can get Wiggs and JK downhill, the more pressure we put on the defense and the more easy buckets or free throws that we get.”

Warriors must win numbers advantages created by Splash Bros.

Warriors' Steve Kerr, Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins

Memphis has steadfastly played on the high side of Curry and Thompson for multiple seasons running, content to give up backdoor opportunities while shutting down the three-point line. The presence of a top-tier rim-protector like Jaren Jackson Jr. on the back line is vital to the success of that defensive gambit.

Sound familiar? That's pretty much exactly how Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers defended the Dubs during the Western Conference Semifinals last season. Face-guarding or top-locking Curry and Thompson forced Golden State's supporting cast to eat space toward the rim and drain open jumpers, a challenge that group wasn't up to meeting as Kuminga watched the Lakers dispatch of the Warriors from the bench.

Maybe he really wasn't up to the task of winning those numbers advantages last spring. Now fully entrenched as a go-to guy for Golden State, Kuminga is plenty comfortable making the scoring and passing reads—like rejecting a pick-and-roll the defense overplays or taking an extra dribble in the paint to draw help—that stem from the unique threat Curry and Thompson provide as screeners.

The same goes for Wiggins, especially when he plays with the pointed confidence that's helped him recenrly break out of sustained career-worst struggles.

“The way Memphis guards us, they really make it difficult for Steph and Klay to get their usual shots, their usual actions,” Kerr said after Friday's game. “So I thought JK really did a good job of kind of exposing some of the ways they were guarding Steph and Klay and finding space and getting to the rim.”

These are the games within the game Golden State lost in last year's playoffs and must continue winning to make good on the promise they've shown over the last 10 days. An established second offensive option almost certainly isn't coming at the trade deadline. Neither is a complete reversion to the all-court “beautiful game” offense that's been a defining trait of the Warriors' dynasty.

But Kuminga has finally arrived and Wiggins is starting to look like his old self. The more they're empowered as ball-handlers in two-man actions with Curry and Thompson, the better chance the Dubs will have to paper over personnel and stylistic deficiencies going forward that could still doom their hopes of contention.