Draymond Green praises Jonathan Kuminga’s defense after an incredible two-game stretch, says the rookie can expect more playing time if he continues like this.
Kuminga is already getting some serious rotation minutes on a contending team. He had some big moments in the Warriors’ blowout win over Chicago Bulls Friday night.
The 6’8 forward did not take the usual NCAA route to the NBA. He played for the G League Ignite team straight out of high school and entered the 2021 NBA draft class as one of the best defenders according to his scouting report. His lockdown defense, quickness, and athleticism made him the 7th overall pick this year.
Impressive minutes from Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga last night vs the Bulls. More than just the late-game dunks, he defended with energy and made a few nice reads on the offensive end. Held his own when checking Demar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. Sky-high defensive potential. pic.twitter.com/NdK7nSVFx9
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) November 13, 2021
Kuminga strained his right patellar tendon in the preseason game against Denver Nuggets and as a result, missed the first 5 games in the regular season. The rookie made his debut in the final few minutes against OKC, which the Warriors were winning anyway.
Steve Kerr is committed to giving him more opportunities after he made huge strides in the game against Chicago Bulls by checking DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine all by himself.
Is Steve Kerr committed to giving Jonathan Kuminga more minutes?
Although the Warriors lost to Charlotte Hornets last night, Draymond Green praised Jonathan Kuminga for his hustle on the defensive end. He clamped LaMelo Ball which led to a crazy no-look pass by Steph to Jordan Poole.
He concluded the game with 9 points and 5 rebounds, 8 of which came in the first 3 minutes of the second quarter which put the Warriors on top again. After the game, Draymond Green acknowledged Kuminga’s efforts on both ends of the floor. He believes the rookie will continue to get more and more minutes.
— NBA (@NBA) November 15, 2021
“He wants to learn, he is extremely gifted and a talented player. I think he has a lot to offer to this team. He was incredible in his minutes tonight and I think those minutes will continue to grow if he continues to play that way”, says Green. “And I have no doubt in my mind that he will. He’ll get smarter and figure more and more stuff out.”
Jonathan was quite rusty in his first few games, committing unnecessary fouls and turnovers. Steve Kerr made him play with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors as well as the Golden State Warriors. He made his real debut against the Bulls when coach Kerr decided to send him in when the game was still up for grabs.
He proved his worth by defending DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. The rookie forced them to either give up the ball or take a tough shot. Green appreciated the rookie for taking those challenges unlike few players who “shy away from moments like that”.
Although he makes mistakes that are common for a young players, Jonathan Kuminga has the potential to become a great defender in the future.