NBA exec claims Dubs like PBJ more than JK, other young players originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Although the situation remains a mystery, one NBA executive might know why the young Warriors forward is playing fewer minutes.
“The thing about Kuminga and all those young guys they have is that, if you ask people in that team, they like Patrick Baldwin Jr. better,” a Western Conference executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “They may like him more than all of their young guys in the end. They’re going to go slow with him, but I would expect to see him in the rotation at some point.
“Positionally, he fits better than the other young guys except [for] [James] Wiseman. But they think he is going to be a really, really good stretch-four in the league, and they do not have that on the roster right now.”
Kuminga’s minutes have fluctuated since he came into the league.
Last season, he averaged 9.3 points on 51.3 percent shooting from the field and 3.3 rebounds in 16.9 minutes.
Through six games so far this season, he’s averaging 2.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.2 minutes. Last week, Kuminga recorded his first DNP of the season, a move he was the least bit thrilled about.
“The guy you worry about is Kuminga,” the same NBA executive told Deveney. “The stuff that was said about him, about his work ethic and all of that, the reality is, he wasn’t playing, and he was frustrated. Everyone knew it last year.
“With the Warriors, they have been lucky that everyone that they have kind of falls in line. [Moses] Moody, Wiseman, I think those guys get it. But Kuminga wants to play.”
Earlier this summer, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith expressed his concerns with Kuminga when it comes to the Warriors' chances of repeating as NBA champs.
“I’m telling you right now, I expect Moody and Wiseman to be significant,” Smith said. “I’m worried about Kuminga. I’m hearing too many things about him off the court in terms of his head, the level of discipline that he lacks, you understand? Some of the foolishness. I’m not getting into his personal business, I’m not saying nothing like that.
“I’m talking attitude, I’m not talking actions. I’m saying the attitude, the level of focus, commitment, determination, just putting your head down and doing the work. I’m hearing that he’s shortchanging the Warriors in that regard, and he’s got to get his act together because I’m a Jonathan Kuminga fan.”
Even though Warriors coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers were taken aback by Smith's comments, the matter of the fact is that since then, Kuminga has seen less action on the court.
But both Kerr and Myers have stated Kuminga’s decreased minutes solely is due to him being a young player.
“Jonathan's time will come,” Kerr said after not playing Kuminga in the Warriors’ 123-119 win over the Miami Heat last Thursday. “He’s a very, very young player. He’s very talented. He’s just got to keep working and things will go well for him as long as he stays on the path.
“This is how it goes for young guys on championship teams. There are just no free minutes. But the development comes every day, that’s the thing. It’s not like it only comes with minutes played. It comes with coming to practice and getting the work in every single day. He’s working hard, he’s staying ready and his time will come.”
Kuminga did just turn 20 years old. Like Kerr attested to, he must stay patient. We'll just have to wait and see how things play out this season and the seasons to come.