Warriors Have Unusual Plan for Rookie Jonathan Kuminga



Jonathan Kuminga of the G League Ignite during a G-League game against the Westchester Knicks in February.

The Golden State Warriors snagged what many considered a steal in Jonathan Kuminga, with the No. 7 overall pick possessing the potential to bloom into an NBA star.

But his rookie year could look a little unusual, the Warriors revealed this week. The team’s newest coach opened up about the athletic wing, saying the team could experiment with him at some different positions in order to find playing time in what looks to be a crowded rotation. In doing so, Kuminga would be following in the footsteps of one of his veteran teammates.

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Kuminga Could Slide Into Familiar Role for Dubs

As Grant Liffman of NBC Bay Area noted, the Warriors may have tipped their hand on Kuminga’s future in games this August. Though Kuminga excelled in the NBA G League on the wing, the Warriors slid him into the blocks and had him play small-ball center during Summer League. Coach Kris Weems, who led the Warriors in Summer League and coached the G League Santa Cruz Warriors before being promoted to Steve Kerr’s staff, said the team wanted to find ways to utilize Kuminga’s size.

“When you are going to draft a kid that size, and knowing that long term he is going to be bigger and stronger, he may grow a couple inches taller, his versatility because of his size gives him a chance to stay on the floor longer,” Weems said on the Dubs Talk Podcast.

Weems compared Kuminga to teammate Draymond Green, who has excelled in the small ball center role, allowing the Warriors to go small and pressure teams on both ends of the floor.

“And so we did talk about him playing a little bit of [center], we still want him to play on the wing and play the three and four for the most part. And work on his ball-handling and his passing. But you can be effective as a five, I mean, Draymond Green is a Hall of Famer because he does a lot of the things that Jonathan does.”

“We will be very specific about those times that we can run packages of plays we can put in there, but the versatility on defense is what really sets him apart,” Weems said.

Rookies to Play Big Roles

While Kuminga has the potential to be an NBA star, many insiders believe that the player selected seven picks later could have the bigger role this season. Moses Moody, taken by the Warriors with the No. 14 overall pick, is viewed by many as a more NBA-ready player and could see more time in in the coming season.

Daniel Hardee of SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind noted that Moody has already looked impressive in Summer League and could more easily slide into the rotation for the Warriors.

“Moody certainly looked like a piece that could fit into the Warriors schemes quickly,” he wrote. “He averaged 16.3 PPG on 42.9% shooting (37% from downtown) during Summer League, showing flashes of a cerebral offensive game that made me wonder if the Warriors had drafted the second coming of Bradley Beal.”

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