Jonathan Kuminga went scoreless during the Golden State Warriors’ 129-118 win over the Utah Jazz. The sophomore forward, in fact, didn’t even take a shot in 13 minutes off the bench as the defending champions’ ninth man.
It’s also not like Kuminga stuffed the stat sheet otherwise. His only accrued traditional box score statistics were three rebounds, one steal and two turnovers. Golden State was plus-two during his time on the floor, but Kuminga certainly wasn’t the driving force behind that relative success.
Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and the defending-champion Warriors are surging. (via @armstrongwinter)https://t.co/J53wEYwwCt
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) November 26, 2022
Steve Kerr, though, was hardly concerned by Kuminga’s performance in another strong outing from the Warriors, their eighth straight home win. He even lauded the 20-year-old’s defensive impact, forecasting better things to come on the other side of the ball as long as it’s sustained.
“It’s the total game that we’re looking at. His defense was really key tonight. That should be the number one priority for him,” Kerr said after the game. “He’s so athletic and strong and versatile, if he establishes his defense the offense will come. The transition buckets, the offensive rebounds, the game will get easier. He’s so young that this is all part of his learning process, and I thought tonight was a really good night for him.”
Kuminga’s spot in Golden State’s new rotation seems secure. You can see him of late embracing grunt work and striving to play the right way on both ends, the role he was always bound to play for the Warriors this season given their wealth of offensive talent and early stage of Kuminga’s skill development.
Look how many fires Kuminga puts out here, starting on the ball, helping jostle Walker Kessler at the rim as a help defender then flying back to Collin Sexton in the corner with a perfect close-out.
Kerr on Jonathan Kuminga, who went scoreless (0-0 FGs) in 13 mins.
"It's the total game we're looking at. His defense was really key…if he establishes his defense the offense will come."
Look how many efforts he makes on this one possession. Exactly what GSW needs from him. pic.twitter.com/AZCmNdryTC
— Jack Winter (@ArmstrongWinter) November 26, 2022
That’s exactly the type of activity the Warriors need from Kuminga. As long as he keeps leveraging his extremely rare physical tools with similarly dogged effort going forward, don’t be surprised when Kuminga finds his groove offensively.
The Warriors, .500 for the first time since late October, have finally settled into the regular season. It will only make them that much more dangerous if Kuminga proves able to do the same.