Jonathan Kuminga gives an insight into the Warriors’ bright future against the Grizzlies

Kuminga shares an inside look at the great future vs. Grizzlies, which originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Jonathan Kuminga delivered one of the best performances of his 135-game NBA career in Memphis on Saturday, and it wasn’t enough to save the Warriors from a 14-point loss. They were relatively undisturbed.

The Warriors didn’t accept defeat, but Kuminga’s performance allowed them to better digest the result. They seemed to understand that this was a night where what they saw was more important than what they got.

The Warriors deservedly got the L, but they also got a look at how Kuminga is playing the way they hope to for the next 10 seasons. The long view is sometimes the most important.

“JK played both ends, knocked down his threes and recovered well,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters on the FedExForum after the 133-119 loss to the Grizzlies. “That was the greatest. That’s what we’re looking for all the time.”

Kuminga’s raw stats were impressive: team-high 24 points, 8-of-16 shots including 4-of-7 from deep, team-high timing, eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. All in all 30 productive minutes.

Most impressive, however, was the way Kuminga approached his work. He showed a nice mixture of ferocity and cleverness. The young striker avoided forced shots that endangered possession and, with one exception, the silly foul. He was patient, started when he should have, attacked when it was the right move and defended better than most of his teammates.

That was about as “veteran” as Kuminga, just 20 years old and in his second NBA season, has ever looked.

“His improvement has been great,” said Draymond Green. “He’s where you’d hope a man would be at this point in his career, just growing and getting better at it, understanding more and becoming more reliable. That’s all you can ask for. In terms of confidence, you just have to stay the course.”

With Andrew Wiggins on leave and Andre Iguodala out with a broken left wrist, Kuminga is the most intriguing wing in the active squad. Klay Thompson normally brings attack but his defense was taken advantage of. Anthony Lamb has subtle cunning but can only dream of Kuminga’s athleticism. Moses Moody is on the fringes of rotation.

Kuminga is present on both ends and is just as eager to engage the most dangerous goalscorer as he is to commit to the rimmed dunk.

“The biggest thing is just to compete at both ends of the stage and be decisive,” said Stephen Curry. “Offensively, the way they defended us… he looked good. And there was no mistaking the shots he was taking, which is great because you have to make them pay for tailing you around the rest of the side of the court. He has to be aggressive because when he’s out there, especially with certain lineups, he’s going to get those shots.

“You have to be assertive and decisive, and he did that very well, especially early on, and gave us a lot of life and energy.”

But one of Kuminga’s most memorable moments lends itself perfectly to a Shaqtin’ a Fool role. Kuminga, wiping a pass from Desmond Bane late in the third quarter, visualized a breakaway jam, raced to the rim, made an escape and…lost the ball out of bounds. Sales, warrior.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Green recalled. “He banged that one on the quick break and you come down and bobble a few games there. Who cares? Everyone rolls the ball.

“Emotionally, it’s always a different hurdle than playing on the pitch. It usually takes a little longer to grow emotionally than it does from a skill perspective. They expect him to keep growing there and I know he will.”

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As the Warriors fell to .500 (36-36) and fell back to 7th place in the Western Conference, Kuminga reminded everyone what he can become.

On a late-season night when the stakes are high and most Golden State veterans felt the effects of the previous night’s game in Atlanta, the boisterous freshman dropped a complete performance.

It wasn’t enough to win the game. It was accurate enough to shed some light on Kuminga’s future as well as that of the warriors.

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