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JTA believes Kuminga can make Warriors top-five team in West

JTA believes Kuminga can make Warriors top-five team in West originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Warriors failed to make the NBA playoffs this season, but former Golden State wing Juan Toscano-Anderson believes the team has what it takes to return to its former glory.

And while stars such as Steph Curry and Draymond Green certainly are expected to lead that charge, there's one player who Toscano-Anderson predicts will have the biggest impact.

"I think they've got a good team. I think they've just got to figure some things out," Toscano-Anderson told the "Sloane Knows" podcast this week. "... I think they just have a few kinks to make. And you look at some teams, and you can just tell [the Warriors are] not far off. I don't think they're far off.

"They have a sufficient amount of talent to compete ... They have some young guys who they're grooming. Obviously, Jonathan Kuminga rose to the occasion this year. I think he'll be much better next year, and I think he'll be a very pivotal piece for that team. I think if he plays well -- obviously, the other guys are going to do what they're going to do -- but I think if Jonathan Kuminga consistently plays well, I think the Warriors can be a top-five team in the [Western Conference] next year."

Kuminga enjoyed a breakout 2023-24 NBA season with the Warriors, his third year in the league. After averaging 9.6 points in 18.8 minutes per game over his first two seasons, Kuminga logged career highs in points (16.1), assists (2.2), rebounds (3.6), field-goal percentage (52.9) and minutes per game (26.3) this season.

But it's evident Toscano-Anderson expects even more from Kuminga's forthcoming fourth season. The 21-year-old entered the league with lofty expectations after the Warriors selected him No. 7 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, serving as a critical piece of Golden State's 2022 championship run during his rookie campaign -- which also happened to be Toscano-Anderson's last in the Bay.

While Kuminga still has plenty of room to grow, Toscano-Anderson is right: The Warriors aren't far off from returning to title contention after their NBA Play-In Tournament exit, and the young talent could hold the key.

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