within the many problems that the 2022-2023 Golden State Warriors have had, his bench production has been at the top of the list for most of the season. With the Dependable Veterans Departure of the roster champion like Gary Payton II (today back in the franchise, but injured), Otto Porter, Damion Lee, Juan Toscano and Nemanja Bjelica, the team led by Steve Kerr was left with a extremely young and inexperienced second unit, which has not been able to live up to the circumstances. And the few veterans they bet on (JaMychal Green case), did not respond either.
However, within this dark panorama for the Warriors, a light of illusion begins to appear, linked to the performance brought 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 their last 10 performances. All in just 25.4 minutes.
It is worth remembering that Kuminga has barely 20 years, so it is logical that he has had an irregular performance in his early days in the league. But physical, athletic and technical talent it was always there. And bit by bit, he seems to be cementing that for the good of Golden State.
Kuminga’s performance is not only standing out from the individual, but also from the collective. In that stretch of 10 games he accumulates a differential of +27 on court. And although we know that the +/- is not always a perfect formula, it is still a positive sign, within a Warriors bench that has had a negative balance throughout 2022-2023.
In fact, the -1,1 average of his substitutes during the season is the seventh worst record in the NBA.
One more point to take into account is the situation of uncertainty that exists around Andrew Wiggins. The Canadian has been away from the team since mid-February for personal problems not released and there is no certainty about when he will return to Golden State. Or directly if he will do it during this season.
It is known that Kerr uses a large 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, he usually leans towards the small-ball What a great result it has given you in these years. Wiggins is a fundamental piece for this, as a big and athletic three, capable of pairing without problems with the opposing four. Without Wiggins and with Iguodala at the end of his career, today that function would correspond to Kuminga.
In fact, Kerr has already been anticipating such a move in recent weeks: included the African in his starting five in recent games against the Lakers, Rockets, Timberwolves, Thunder and Hawks.
The results of those bets have been up and down, but overall, the interior duo Kuminga-Draymond has been having a positive performance: In 764 possessions with both on the field (without Looney), Golden State registers a +2.9 Net Rating (differential per 100 possessions). That brand is far 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 that he can be a decisive factor in the maximum instances of the season, including a great performance in the 2022 Finals against Boston. But at least it suggests that Golden State could be finding an interesting solution, in a 20-year-old young man who has everything to continue growing day by day.