Draped in a Belenciaga tee and with enough style from his feet to his shades, Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga was ready to put on a show Wednesday night in Miami.
He didn’t disappoint.
Kuminga was given a spot start in place of Draymond Green, who was just one of many key players out for Golden State, and the 19-year-old looked like the Warriors’ best player on the floor for stretches. Really, that was true for both sides as the undermanned Warriors took down the Eastern Conference’s top seed with a 118-104 win over the Heat.
“He’s nice,” Andrew Wiggins said after the win. “Man, he’s nice. His growth this year is amazing. It’s been fast. He’s been soaking everything in and yeah, he has great vets, great coaches, great teammates out there that will put him in position to be successful.
“He’s a kid that wants to learn and wants to get better. And every game he’s getting better. He’s doing things that we never see him do, and he’s just doing it. He’s talented. Sky is the limit for him.”
The rookie gave the Warriors their first points of the night, and right away it was clear what kind of night it could be for him. Kuminga for the second straight game displayed much better ballhandling skills and a hesitation move that can get his defender to rest for just a split second before driving by him. To start of the Warriors’ win against the Heat, he did so while attacking one of the best defenders in basketball.
Kuminga took Bam Adebayo, a two-time All-Defensive honoree with more to come, off the dribble with his left hand and finished with his right to get Golden State on the scoreboard.
Through the first quarter, Kuminga scored six points as he was finding his rhythm. In the second quarter, he really started to heat up. He went 3-for-5 from the field, was fouled twice, scored eight points and was a plus-5 in just under eight minutes, all while showing off his star potential.
With a little over seven minutes remaining in the first half, Kuminga caught a missed 3-point attempt that hit nothing but his hands, went coast-to-coast and again used that hesitation move with his left hand to get past his defender and lay in two more points.
For how electrifying of an athlete and as a dunker Kuminga already is, he had perhaps his most impressive moment of the season later in the second quarter.
Duncan Robinson never had a chance. But that fadeaway jumper? Now that’s something new from the always-improving teenager.
The moment Kuminga saw Robinson, it was a parting of seas in Miami. There was only one thing that Kuminga was going to do and it wasn’t pass the ball. He was under control, got to his spot and didn’t hesitate one bit one a move he constantly has been working on behind the scenes.
“I’ll say mostly postups,” Kuminga said when asked about the area he has improved the most throughout the season. “I feel like whenever I’m out there, I get whatever I want to. And setting screens and diving to the rim, that’s where I pretty much think I got better.”
That’s spoken like a rookie who is becoming better and better, and one who knows he can be an absolute superstar.
“Jonathan’s been great,” Warriors coach Steve…
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