Kuminga shows off immense potential in first half vs. Hornets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Steve Kerr said Jonathan Kuminga was going to get more opportunities, and he wasn’t lying. The No. 7 overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft got his first chance to reward his coach’s increased faith in him against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night at Spectrum Center, and Kuminga didn’t waste it.
First entering the game with 8.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Kuminga used his length to deflect Charlotte’s entry pass out of bounds, and then helped force a missed shot by Hornets wing Gordon Hayward in the final moments.
Kuminga then started the second quarter for Golden State, and provided his team with an immediate and immense boost. He stole the ball from Ish Smith on the opening possession and then went to work on the other end of the court. Kuminga scored the Warriors’ first eight points of the frame, which included a few highlight-reel plays.
All aspects of Kuminga’s immense potential were on display. After providing early offense, he offered more evidence of his future as a legitimate defensive stopper.
Kuminga closed out the second quarter, too, and this time, he ended up taking the last shot, a three-quarters-court heave at the buzzer. But thanks to a truly terrible foul by Hornets forward Miles Bridges, Kuminga was awarded three free throws.
Kuminga only made one of his three attempts from the charity stripe to tie the game at 57-57 going into halftime, but it nonetheless was an extremely encouraging first-half performance from the rookie. In seven minutes, he scored nine points, hauled in four rebounds and was a plus-11.
Kuminga is improving with each game that passes, and if he keeps playing like he did in the first half against the Hornets, Kerr is going to have a hard time keeping him off the court.