The Golden State Warriors are in a very enviable position right now.
With four of the last eight NBA championships in their column, they not only possess one of the game’s all-time greats in Stephen Curry, but they also have a collection of young complementary players who can keep their championship window open for several more years.
One of those young players is Jonathan Kuminga, who was the seventh overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft.
He emerged this past season as a legitimate prospect, averaging 9.3 points in 16.9 minutes per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.
He barely played during Golden State’s NBA Finals victory over the Boston Celtics, but the team has held high hopes for him.
However, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith said on Tuesday’s edition of “First Take” that Kuminga may not have the right work ethic or attitude needed to become the best version of himself.
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“I’m worried about Kuminga,” said Smith. “I’m hearing too many things about him off the court in terms of his head. The level of discipline that he lacks. Some of the foolishness.
“I’m talking attitude, I’m not talking actions … The level of focus, commitment, determination, just putting your head down, doing the work.”
If what Smith said is true, it could take some luster off the seemingly bright future the Warriors have.
Kuminga Has The Potential To Be A Difference-Maker
Kuminga is 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, and he has a wingspan of 6-foot-11 to go along with tremendous athleticism and speed.
He can jump out of the gym, making him a player who can benefit from the defensive attention opponents give to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Jonathan Kuminga HAMMERS it down 👀 pic.twitter.com/GUptutw4Bj
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Despite his limited playing time, Kuminga threw down 74 dunks last season, and he shot an impressive 77.1 percent from within three feet of the basket.
He has also shown flashes of defensive excellence, and if he works on that aspect of his game, he could become a very bothersome defender for opposing players who can guard multiple positions effectively.
He Needs Plenty Of Work To Reach His Potential
One big negative for Kuminga is his 3-point shooting, or more accurately, his lack thereof.
He made just 33.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc last season, and in the playoffs, that figure dropped to an abysmal 23.1 percent.
His free throw shooting also needs a good deal of improvement, as he shot just 68.4 percent from the foul line in the regular season.
But there may be a glimmer of hope in that department, as he improved to 76.9 percent in the playoffs.
Those associated with the Warriors, as well as their fans, also want to see more consistency from Kuminga in every aspect of his game.
It is easy to play hard and with extra chutzpah when things are going well offensively and you’re getting the ball a lot, but one thing that separates good players from mediocre ones is the constant effort to make things happen one way or another.
Good players will find ways to score even when things aren’t coming easily for them offensively, while also putting effort into other facets of the game.
If Kuminga starts doing such things on a consistent basis, the Warriors’ dynasty could extend deep into this decade.