Draymond Green’s ankle ailment keeps him out of the Golden State Warriors’ lineup for now. They are now addressing some issues with third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga, who has taken Green’s place during the preseason.
Kuminga was wearing thick tape around his right thumb during practice the day after he slammed his shooting hand on the backboard. According to a report from ESPN’s Kendra Andrews on Thursday, the Warriors forward missed practice due to soreness in his thumb.
Kuminga completed some individual practice on the side, but according to head coach Steve Kerr, he is doubtful for Friday’s exhibition game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors don’t want to deal with Kuminga missing any preseason games right now, particularly when he could be in line for a huge, breakthrough season. Given his athletic prowess, the Warriors have long been impressed with his potential, and the 2021 first-round selection starts the 2023–2024 season as the team’s obvious backup option at power forward behind Green.
Given his flexibility and length, it is not difficult to imagine that Golden State would even try to use Kuminga at the center position at various points during the season.
Kuminga, 21, is one of his team’s youngest players and still considers himself to be a work in progress. He played in 67 games last season and had averages of 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 52.5 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.
Jonathan Kuminga’s preseason
In the team’s first preseason game against the Lakers, Kuminga shined. Coming off the bench and playing a total of 24 minutes, Kuminga recorded a game-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 4-of-8 from three-point range. He also finished the night with eight total rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
“I just liked his aggressiveness,” Kerr said after the team’s preseason game. “I thought he shot the ball with a lot of confidence. He had eight rebounds, so he was much more active on the glass than his first couple of years playing. We want that to continue. He showed his athleticism and did a good job.”
A high-flying forward who can play both on the perimeter and in the paint, Kuminga is going to have to hold a huge role for the Warriors during the 2023-24 season if they are to get back to their title contending ways.
The one thing Golden State has always had during all of their championships runs is depth on their bench. Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala made a huge difference in 2015, 2017, and 2018, plus Jordan Poole was the X-factor off the bench during their recent run in 2022.
Kuminga has a chance to really cement his long-term role with the Warriors this season, which is why they are hoping he can get over this jammed thumb injury fairly quickly. Should he miss Friday’s game against the Lakers, Kuminga’s next chance to suit up in the preseason will be on Sunday, October 15 against the Sacramento Kings.