For most title-contending NBA teams, there isn't usually much room for a 19-year-old rookie to shine. In Golden State, home of some of the best players in the league, that should prove to be especially true.
This season, however, Jonathan Kuminga has broken tradition to find himself a permanent place in the rotation.
Against the Lakers on Saturday, against LeBron James, he may have put on his greatest performance yet. With 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block on 72% shooting, he was among the most impactful players of the game and proved his worth as a potential star in this league.
So impressed with his teammate, Klay Thompson made sure to shower him in praise after the game.
“Jonathan (Kuminga) was our best player for the first three quarters," Klay said. "I wasn’t doing that at 19 or 20… Warriors fans should be very excited for our future. He does things that cannot be taught. Isn’t that crazy [Kuminga] is not gonna be in the Rising Stars game? He just guarded LeBron James for however many minutes, gave us 18 (points) on 11 shots, and almost a double-double. Like, how many more 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds are doing that? I don’t know.”
Kuminga was the 7th pick in the 2021 Draft after spending a season developing his skills in the G-League. Through 13 games that season, he averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists on 38% shooting.
This season, he has been a solid contributor for a Warriors team that is making some noise in the West. With a 42-15 record, they are second in the Conference and look to be in the running for the Championship.
While Kuminga's long-term future with the team may be uncertain, he has already won over the hearts of his teammates and the many fans of Dub Nation.
No doubt, he's got a bright future in this league.