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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Kuminga’s progress on the Warriors’ road trip becomes more important than Green’s injury

Kuminga'S Progress On The Warriors' Road Trip Becomes More Important Than Green'S Injury

SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors are facing life without Drummond Green for a long time, and rookie Jonathan Cuminga could be the biggest beneficiary of those missing minutes. After the recent growth shown by Cuminga, the opportunity could not have come at a better time.

Coach Steve Kerr said 19-year-old Cuminga made the third start of his career on Tuesday against the Pistons.

“He played really well and it seems like a great time to play JK with Stef and Kel and Loon with Drummond,” Kerr said. “You can throw him defensively anywhere in there. He’s capable of defending any of these positions. So we really want to see what he looks like in that starting group. And then when Drummond comes back , so we’ll see what he looks like with Drummond in that group. He’s earned it.”

The Warriors’ recent road trip was a big one for the 19-year-old rookie. He flashed more high-flying dunks and scored double digits in every game he played. But more than any single highlight, Kuminga’s overall development as a player was the biggest cause for optimism.

Andrew Wiggins said he saw “considerable development” from Cumminga in the last four games, and Klay Thompson ended the journey by declaring Cumminga “a building block for years to come” and “a huge part of this team for a long time”. Gave. Kerr called it “a great trip” for Cuminga, and with Green out, said the rookie would see more time, “for sure.”

It didn’t start well.

In an act of seriousness, a Warriors G-League affiliate played a game across the Mississippi River against the Memphis Hustle, where the NBA team would face the Grizzlies the next night. This allowed Cuminga and Moses Moody to drive another G League through Memphis on their own swing without sacrificing their availability with an NBA team.

It also gave Steve Kerr a rare opportunity to check in to Sea Dubs and watch extended minutes of his rookie drama. He played cornhole under the basket before the game with some assistants – Jacob Rubin and Khalid Robinson took down Kerr and Ryan Atkinson – but once he looked on the court, he didn’t like what he saw from Cuminga.

Kuminga almost resigned to being there, certainly not employing the advice Kerr and his staff tried to hammer home: full speed, always. He ended with nine points, five turnovers and the rest of the road trip with a lesson to take with him.

“He didn’t run the floor,” Kerr said. “It was disappointing. We talked to him about it and he understood and he gave a really good answer.

That game served as a wake-up call.

Inside Target Center in Minnesota, the morning before his final game of the Tour, Kerr took a seat next to the court, with Kuminga sitting to his left, and opened a laptop.

He reviewed plays that Cuminga could have shown to be more hustle, precise examples where his full speed could be the difference between a bucket and a turnover, a block, or a basket.

“He was telling me to keep running,” Kuminga said. “There were some plays we saw if I was running, they told me I could run faster than him or be more aggressive.”

You’ll be hard-pressed to find the play Kuminga did in 33 minutes of that night—more than all but one game. He had clearly learned his lesson from the previous game, however, in what Kerr called the best performance of his youth career.

In a 42-point victory over the Bulls, Kuminga stole the show with 25 points, three assists, three rebounds, a steal and a trio of blocks, the last of which saw him fly over the rim out of nowhere and tell Devon. was shown. Dotson, “Not Tonight”.

“I think it’s not me taking a step forward, it’s just part of the development,” Kuminga said, reflecting on the journey. “I just wasn’t going to come into the league in my first game or second game and do what I’m doing now.”

Against Chicago, Kuminga missed only two of his 12 shot attempts – both by 3 – and went to the rim with abandon. His combination of speed, power and athleticism made him unstoppable – literally – while gliding through the lanes. His four dunks rocked the rim and served as a stress test on the backboard glass.

According to Jordan Poole, none even came close to registering a perfect 10. Poole, you see, is so infatuated with Kuminga’s flying prowess that he asks the rookie to rate his own slam on a scale of 1 to 10.

“He said all his stings didn’t even come close to 10,” Poole said. “So keep your eyes out.”

That quick decision-making – dribble, drive, pass or shoot – is the next step in a young player’s development. Kerr called it “point-five basketball.” In other words, that choice has to be made in half a second.

It’s an adjustment all rookies have to make when they start playing at NBA pace, and it’s a reminder of why, despite his raw talent, Kuminga hasn’t cracked the Warriors’ regular rotation until now. Was cast Even with the leap taken on this previous trip, more signs in Santa Cruz are a possibility when Green returns.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that he can help us win. But we also know that progress isn’t linear,” Kerr said. “For JK, we’re trying to teach him about the process and how important every day is. Every time we play him in Santa Cruz, play him in practice, 3-on-3, it’s all important. .

World Nation News Desk
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