within the Golden State Warriors 2022-2023 had many problems, his bench production has topped the list for most of the season. With the Veterans Dependable Event of the roster champion like Gary Payton II (back today in the franchise, but injured), Otto Porter, Damion Lee, Juan Toscano and Nemanja Bjelica, the team led by Steve Kerr was left with his an extremely young and inexperienced second unit, who could not live up to the circumstances. And the few veterans they bet on (the case of JaMychal Green), did not respond either.
However, within this dark panorama for the Warriors, an illusionary light begins to appear, linked to the performed by Jonathan Kuminga in recent weeks. The Congolese scored 24 and 17 points in his last two games and is now averaging 15.2 units, 4.8 rebounds, 58% from the field and 50% in triples in his last 10 performances. All in just 25.4 minutes.
It is worth remembering that Kuminga is hardly 20 years, so it stands to reason that he had an erratic performance in his early days in the league. But physical, athletic and technical talent it was always there. And little by little, it seems to be consolidating for Golden State’s benefit.
Kuminga’s performance not only stands out from the individual, but also from the collective. In that stretch of 10 games, he accumulates a +27 differential on the court. And while we know the +/- formula isn’t always perfect, it’s still a positive sign, within a Warriors bench that had a negative balance throughout 2022-2023.
Indeed, the -1.1 The average of his representatives during the season is the seventh worst record in the NBA.
One more point to consider is the uncertainty surrounding Andrew Wiggins. The Canadian has been away from the team since mid-February for personal problems not released and there is no certainty as to when he will return to Golden State. Or exactly if he will do so during this season.
Kerr has been known to use a big lineup with Draymond Green and Kevon Looney as starters during the regular season, but When it comes to the Playoffs and the most important games of the year, it usually leans towards the a small ball What a wonderful result it has given you in these years. Wiggins is a fundamental piece for this, as a big and athletic three, who can pair without problems with the other four. Without Wiggins and with Iguodala at the end of his career, today that function would correspond to Kuminga.
Indeed, Kerr has been anticipating such a move in recent weeks: including Africa in its top five in recent games against the Lakers, Rockets, Timberwolves, Thunder and Hawks.
The results of those commitments are up and down, but overall, The Kuminga-Draymond interior duo had a positive performance: In 764 possessions with both on the field (without Looney), Golden State registers a +2.9 Net Rating (difference per 100 possessions). That mark is significantly higher than the one recorded by Wiggins-Draymond (again, without Looney): -0.4 Net Rating in 987 possessions.
Does this mean Kuminga is a better option than Wiggins? Of course not. The former Minnesota showed he can be a a decisive factor in the maximum situations of the season, including a stellar performance in the 2022 Finals against Boston. But at least it suggests that Golden State could be finding an interesting solution, i A 20-year-old young man who has everything to continue growing day by day.