Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Draymond Green believes his recent 16-game suspension helped the Golden State Warriors "in a weird way," leading to their current hot streak and emergence of forward Jonathan Kuminga, he told reporters.
Green made the comments at a news conference after the Warriors' 129-107 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday in Salt Lake City.
The Warriors, who were 10-14 at the start of Green's suspension, immediately won their next five games. Their current hot streak includes victories in seven of their previous eight games, including each of their last five. Green was reinstated Jan. 6. The Warriors are 9-7 since his return.
"Honestly, I think me getting suspended helped in a weird way," Green said.
The NBA issued an indefinite suspension to Green on Dec. 13 after he swung his arm and hit center Jusuf Nurkic in the face during a loss to the Phoenix Suns. That ban came just weeks after he was given a five-game suspension for an on-court altercation with Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert.
Green's most recent absence resulted in more playing time for Kuminga. The veteran forward cited Kuminga's growth as a reason for the Warriors' success. Kuminga, a third-year forward, is averaging a career-high 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season. He logged 14.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per appearance during Green's 16-game hiatus and 22.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per bout over his last 14 games.
"J.K. has taken off," Green said. "That has set the stage for this team. He is a bonafide No. 2 option on our team."
"Not that I wanted to get suspended ... but I do think that helped us find different things we can go to and explore. Now, you add me back to the fray, add Gary Payton II back from his injury and Chris Paul will be coming back, now you've got those pieces coming back."
Green, 33, averaged 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists through 27 appearances this season. He totaled 12 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in Monday's victory. Star guards Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry scored 26 and 25 points, respectively, for the Warriors.
The Warriors will host the Los Angeles Clippers (35-17) at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday in San Francisco.