Why Draymond believes JK is becoming a ‘star' with Warriors

Why Draymond believes JK is becoming a ‘star' with Warriors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Roughly a month after frustrated comments about his inconsistent playing time, Jonathan Kuminga has been on a tear for the Warriors -- and one of the 21-year-old’s veteran teammates proudly has taken notice.

“In other news, Jonathan Kuminga is a star, man,” Draymond Green emphatically said on the latest episode of “The Draymond Green Show.” “That young fella is a stud. Getting to the basket at will, finishing with the best of them, getting to his spots -- nobody can stop him from getting to his spots. [He’s] showing you the promise that we’ve all believed is there. He’s stepping into that now. He’s playing a big role on this team now and that’s not changing, no time soon.

“[Kuminga’s] been very dominant ... And if I’m not mistaken, that’s seven straight games of over 20 points. And it’s a dominant 20, like, you notice it. It ain’t just like he’s just coming up with 20. ‘Oh, I didn’t know,’ no, you’re noticing him dominate.”

Since Golden State selected Kuminga at No. 7 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, the forward has struggled to convince coach Steve Kerr he’s worthy of big-time minutes.

However, Kerr now seems on board.

As Green mentioned, Kuminga is averaging 25.3 points on 60.4-percent shooting over Golden State’s last six games, also snagging 7.0 rebounds a night.

The forward’s persistence and recent excellence landed him a key role in the Warriors’ 2023-24 campaign, and Green believes nobody should be surprised.

“It’s been a joy to watch him over the last three years now, continue to grow [and] put the work in,” Green explained. “And regardless [of] what has come in front of him, sometimes [it’s] minutes not being consistent -- that’s all a part of it -- that’s a part of this league. Especially, when you come on a team like he came on a team. That is a part of it. But he stayed the course [and] continued to put the work in. A lot of credit to that young fella. [He] and [coach Anthony Vereen] put a lot of work in, watch a lot of film. And to see it pay off for him, that’s what you hope [for].

“The way [Kuminga’s] playing has been amazing. I told him the other day, ‘You should enjoy your last [NBA] All-Star break. From now on, you’re going to be at All-Star Weekend.’ JK is such a special talent. Getting downhill, the pressure that he puts on the rim is hard for any defense to guard, and it’s been special to watch.”

Forty-three games into his third NBA season, Kuminga is averaging career-highs in points (14.8), rebounds (4.5), assists (1.6) and field goal percentage (53.2).

Considering he’s one of the younger players on an older Golden State team, Green admires how Kuminga stands on business – specifically regarding his disapproval of inconsistent playing time.

“JK had a few comments earlier in the year where he said, ‘I don’t know my role. I don’t know this, I don’t know that.’ And what I will say to the young fellas is, if you’re ever going to go out on a limb and say something, you got to back it up the way JK does it,” Green stated.

Kuminga also is playing a career-high 24.3 minutes for the Warriors. Green, like most, has noticed the more minutes Kuminga gets, the more he develops into a “star.”

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast