The Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga makes his international Rocky debut
The leap onto the international stage has been a rocky one for Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga.
After a first NBA season in which he displayed flashes of brilliant play alongside some typical rookie struggles, Kuminga’s debut for the Congo national team was similar. Kuminga, 19, is representing his country in the FIBA World Cup 2023 qualifiers currently being held in Tunisia and put on a rocky performance as his team played Cameroon on Friday.
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Kuminga goes cold from the field
Kuminga struggled to find his knight in Friday’s game, making just four of his 15 shots from the field and missing all seven of his 3-point attempts. Despite the struggles, Kuminga battled his way to a team-high 18 points, largely as a result of hitting 10 of 12 on his free throws.
In the end, Kuminga’s Congo team landed lose 71-69, with the Warriors forward having no chance of winning the game. Kuminga had a 3-point attempt with a 69 draw and 35 seconds left but missed. The Cameroonian team secured the rebound and scored a game-winning layup on the next possession.
Kuminga will have some immediate chances to recover as the Congo side play South Sudan on Saturday and Angola on Sunday. He’ll be back with the Warriors in a little under a month Warriors begin training camp on September 24 and play their first of five preseason games on September 30.
Bigger role for Kuminga
After a rookie season in which he played frugally – averaging 9.3 points in 16.9 minutes per game – the international stage could offer Kuminga a chance to rehearse a new role for the Warriors.
That CJ Holmes of San Francisco Chronicle noted that the team is attempting to prepare Kuminga to become a more versatile offensive player, facilitating that role for him during Summer League play.
“Kuminga was forced out of his comfort zone in the summer league and was frequently asked to initiate attacks and handle the ball in pick-and-roll scenarios. Why? Because warriors know that the more versatile he becomes, the more valuable and dangerous it becomes,” wrote Holmes.
“Year 2 for Kuminga will be about further developing his overall offensive skills rather than just relying on his athletic ability. That and improving defense will be key for him to stay on the pitch longer.”
Holmes added that the Warriors believe Kuminga already has the tools to be one of the team’s best fullbacks and want him to show more offensive versatility that would allow him to play for Draymond Green as a center in small -Ball lineups to step in.
But some concerns have also arisen in relation to Kuminga. Speaking of First take On Aug. 22, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith pointed out that there were some worrying reports of Kuminga’s lack of commitment, especially compared to the other rising young stars at Golden State.
“I expect [Moses] Moody and [James] Wiseman significant. I’m worried about Kuminga. I hear too many things about him off the pitch in terms of his head. The level of discipline he lacks. You understand? Part of the stupidity,” Smith said.
CONTINUE READING: Draymond Green Says Warriors Rookie Can Become ‘Consistent All-Star’
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