The Golden State Warriors are into Round 2 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, facing the Los Angeles Lakers. Their rotation will continue to shrink as the playoffs go on. Jonathan Kuminga is one of the players the Warriors are squeezing out despite some improvements in his second season.
The Warriors went 10 deep in Game 1 but only used one bench guy (Jordan Poole) for a significant portion of the game. Gary Payton II, Moses Moody, JaMychal Green and Donte DiVincenzo each played less than 15 minutes. Kuminga said that it was tough to adjust to not playing after having a solid role throughout the season, according to C.J. Holmes of the San Francisco Chronicle
“It’s still tough to lock in every single time. It’s still tough to smile every single time,” Kuminga said. “But knowing where I’ve come from, seeing how many things that I’ve actually been through that a lot of people don’t know that got me to this point… I feel like throughout my career, throughout my life, I’ve never been given anything. I’ve seen so many people just get handed stuff. That’s never happened to me.”
Kuminga’s minutes in the regular season bumped up from 16.9 minutes to 20.8 minutes and increased his 3-point percentage to 37.0 percent. His size on defense could be helpful against LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But Steve Kerr has opted to play him only sparingly in the playoffs. In the seven-game series against the Sacramento Kings, he played fewer than 40 total minutes across six games.
The Warriors’ young forward will have to wait for his time to play. And it’s likely that he doesn’t play much at all moving forward. But he isn’t going to get downtrodden about it. “You can’t stop the sun from shining, and at some point, the sun is going to come out,” Jonathan Kuminga said. “That’s what keeps me ready every day.”
The Warriors trail the Lakers 1-0 after Los Angeles won a close battle in Game 1. Overcoming the stellar defense of Davis and shooting better inside the paint will be the keys to evening up the series before it heads back to L.A.