More minutes are coming for Jonathan Kuminga. Steve Kerr confirmed that assumption after the Golden State Warriors fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 114-105 on Friday night, ending their five-game road trip winless as a resting Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green watched their woefully short-handed team fight hard against a full-strength foe with deep playoff aspirations.

“JK played really well and he’s earned some minutes,” Kerr said. “…He showed tonight that he’s ready to step into the rotation and contribute.”

Kuminga fell out the bottom of Golden State’s rotation after the first two games of the regular season, with fellow 2021 lottery pick Moses Moody taking his spot at de facto small forward. Kuminga subsequently got some random minutes in garbage time and spelling an ineffective James Wiseman, but also notched DNP-CDs in two games against the Miami Heat and the Warriors’ loss to Orlando Magic on Thursday.

Kerr hinted at Kuminga’s promotion after that game, and the 20-year-old did plenty the following night to burnish his coach’s confidence in that possibility. Kuminga, in fact, believes he suffered no struggles while battling with the likes of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones.

“I wouldn’t say I struggled with anything,” he said. “Growing up to here, I feel like I’ve been working hard every single day to make sure I build up everything in my game. Even if it’s not perfect at this time, but just knowing that I’m capable of doing pretty much everything on the floor, I’m just going to keep building on it.”

Kuminga building on his performance against the Pelicans would be a massive development for the Warriors, and certainly clinch a full-time spot in the rotation. He had 18 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block on Friday, shooting 7-of-12 from the field.

Kuminga roasted Williamson from the perimeter with quick-hitting straight-line drives for multiple high-flying finishes. He patiently worked his way into the paint for short mid-range finishes, creating space to shoot with his broad shoulders and underrated footwork. Kuminga drilled a corner three with no hesitation, too, indicative of the blend of aggressiveness and poised he played with on both sides of the ball from start to finish.

“It was apparent who really played well tonight,” Kerr said, referencing Kuminga.

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Expect him to usurp the struggling Wiseman in the rotation for Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, playing in a smaller reserve frontcourt alongside JaMychal Green and also getting some run with the Warriors’ regulars.

Golden State reaching its ceiling this season always depended on Kuminga establishing himself as a reliable impact player off the bench, even closing some games in small-ball lineups against specific opponents. He still has a long way to go before cementing that status.

If Kuminga does it by season’s end, though, just in time for the playoffs, don’t be surprised to look back at his play against New Orleans as the first step in that process.