Jonathan Kuminga’s been blessed with top-tier physical tools for an NBA wing.
Just 20 years old, he’s already arguably the Golden State Warriors’ best on-ball defender, easily capable of switching across four positions. Kuminga is a slick, creative ball handler for his size despite clear room for growth, and regularly flashes natural passing chops that suggest he could eventually make more plays as a primary creator. He’s both powerful and graceful as a finisher, with the shot-faking patience of a veteran and ever-improving footwork. The sophomore wing has taken needed defensive strides away from the ball in 2022-23, too.
Kuminga, obviously, is still a long, long way from reaching his ceiling. Just past the halfway point of his second season, though, the question is no longer whether Kuminga will develop into an NBA impact player, but just how high he could ultimately push it.
After watching him knock down a season-high four three-pointers in Friday’s 129-117 win over the Toronto Raptors, Steve Kerr answered with a confident affirmative when asked if Kuminga can eventually become a two-way star.
“He’s got the physical ability to be a hell of a two-way player,” Kerr said. “He can guard one through four, and with his ability to score around the basket…You saw the three-point shots tonight. That’s why we drafted him. He’s an exciting prospect, and he’s getting better and better.”
Kuminga finished with 15 points and two assists against the Raptors, back to coming off the bench with Andrew Wiggins sidelined as Kerr re-inserted Kevon Looney to the starting five. Expect Kuminga to remain a candidate to start when the Warriors are short-handed for the season’s remainder, though.
The ability to hit good looks from three or simply make the defense guard him off the ball has been keeping Kuminga from getting even more playing time during his steady rise. Wide open as all four of his triples were versus Toronto, Kerr and Golden State’s coaching staff no doubt have more confidence that Kuminga can keep defenses honest following his relative three-point barrage on Friday night.
For the Warriors’ sake, here’s hoping it’s a crucial early sign of his full-fledged superstardom to come.