Jonathan Kuminga Shines Against Lakers in Preseason Debut


Jonathan Kuminga finished Sunday’s preseason game with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 5 turnovers on 8/14 shooting. While preseason basketball is largely meaningless, there are some individual takeaways for Jonathan Kuminga, particularly around his scoring, transition value, and defense.

Offensively, the two constant weaknesses in his first couple of seasons have been related to shooting and turnovers. This game was no different, getting blocked due to a slow shot over a long contest, and he had 5 turnovers. These areas for improvement were mixed in with a lot of positive results: Kuminga can bring the ball up the floor occasionally, being able to either get a guard on a mismatch to post up and take to the basket where he finishes well, or get a big on him to expose a mismatch elsewhere, at least in theory. Having more ball-handlers at taller sizes makes for a better Warriors team both now and going forward. 

As a shooter, Kuminga has decent touch, being able to knock down some open jumpers, but it often comes with streakiness. In this game, he took advantage of the space the Lakers defense gave him to shoot 3s and largely did well (4 of 8 from 3), but did get blocked once on a jumper (below). As he develops his jump shot, not only will he add value by commanding respect on  closeouts, but he can also play to one of his biggest strengths: using a shot fake to get momentum towards the rim to finish efficiently or draw fouls. 

As Kuminga puts these skills together and improves on his weaknesses, he will inch closer to his high upside that made him a top 10 pick in 2021. Kuminga just turned 21 within the last week and will play his entire third season as his age 21 season. Look for the Warriors prospect to either break out and emerge as a future cornerstone in the post-Stephen Curry era, or as a key trade prospect to close out the Curry era window.