SAN FRANCISCO — Jonathan Kuminga is playing the best basketball of his young career. The Golden State Warriors' electric, high-flying forward is averaging 24.3 points and seven rebounds over his last four games, with scorching shooting marks of 66.1% overall, 58.3% from beyond the arc and 80.0% at the free throw line. He's made his presence felt on the other end, too, earmarked as Golden State's ‘stopper' of primary ball handlers while serving as an active, disruptive help defender.

Such an impressive stretch of play has only increased ever-loud calls from Dub Nation for Kuminga to be moved back into the starting lineup. It's not just positional complications that seem poised to prevent Kuminga—playing power forward exclusively as of late, like he has for the vast majority of 2023-24—from overtaking the much-maligned Andrew Wiggins to open games.

Before Thursday's battle against the rival Sacramento Kings, Steve Kerr confirmed the notion that one justification for recently shifting Kuminga to a reserve role was unleashing him as a primary scorer.

“For sure. We wanted to get him the ball more and put him in more spots to attack,” Kerr told ClutchPoints of the decision to bring Kuminga off the bench. “He’s a young guy, it’s his third year, it’s kind of a natural time for him to really start to come into his own and feel how he can impact the game. We’ve shown him a lot of the numbers, his shot chart; anything in the paint he’s elite. The way he explodes, can get over people, through people. We’re just trying to emphasize to him the more he’s around the paint, the more he’s attacking, the better.”

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What major development coincided with Kuminga scraping his fully realized ceiling over the last few games? Kerr once again starting him on the bench, beginning with the Warriors' rousing road win over the Chicago Bulls on January 12th.

He'd been on the floor at tipoff for Golden State's previous 14 games, a period that began when Draymond Green was suspended indefinitely for striking Phoenix Suns big man Jusuf Nurkic in the face. Kuminga acquitted himself well as a starter, averaging 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on league average 57.7% true shooting.

Green's return was always going to substantially alter the Dubs' lineup configurations and playing rotation. Based on how he impacted Wednesday's win over the Atlanta Hawks on both sides of the ball, it's likely only a matter of time until Green assumes his rightful place as a starter. But don't be surprised if Kuminga remains a reserve even once that seemingly inevitable change comes, affording Golden State the offensive difference-maker it's lacked off the bench ever since Green punched Jordan Poole in October 2022.

You've heard this tired basketball adage before: It's not about who starts, but who finishes. Kuminga was on the floor alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Wiggins and Green to close the first half of Wednesday's game, and again played next to Wiggins and Green up front in the middle of the fourth quarter before the Warriors blew the game wide open.

Don't forget what Kuminga said about coming off the bench after the Dubs' win over the Bulls, either.

“Coming off the bench was maybe a great decision from coach that I can't question now, because whoever go out there and play and help us win, that's all that matters.”

Just as obvious? The more Kuminga functions as an offensive focal point—running inverted pick-and-rolls, posting up after receiving cross screens and clearing the wing for isolations—for the Warriors, the more dangerous they'll be as the 82-game grind continues.