After playing seven minutes at the end of the Warriors' win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at Chase Center in San Francisco, rookie Jonathan Kuminga made the trek down to Santa Cruz to play for the G-League Warriors at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Saturday night.
In his Santa Cruz Warriors debut, the No. 7 overall draft pick finished with 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting in 37 minutes of action. Kuminga made 1-of-3 from 3-point range, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists in 104-92 loss to Stockton.
There was a moment, after a whistle, where the 19-year-old Kuminga showed off his athleticism with a sweet windmill dunk. It didn't count, but it's still nice to think about what he's capable of doing.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr also was in Santa Cruz for Saturday's game, and he joined broadcasters Kevin Danna and Drew Shiller to discuss Kuminga, who missed the first five games of the NBA season while recovering from a meniscus injury.
"It's great for him to be here," Kerr said. "He needs all the playing time he can get. And he's such a talented young and it's so fun to see him out here. He just needs reps. He's big, strong, got a good feel for passing. I just think he's trying to figure out what kind of player he is and that's what we're trying to help him figure out."
Kuminga is naturally gifted, but he has a lot of work to do to reach his vast potential and that's what Kerr is hoping to see whenever the lottery pick is assigned to Santa Cruz.
"I think the biggest thing for young guys is to understand how hard you have to play, like every single play," Kerr said. "At that age, it's really hard to understand just what that means. It means sprinting the floor both ways over and over and over again. It's tiring. When you're young, especially for a guy like him who has been able to dominate with his size and strength for the last few years, you don't really understand what you're capable of. He just needs to understand what he's physically capable of, which is really being a physical marvel out there over and over again."
Kuminga's biggest highlight of the night was a two-handed chase-down block late in the second quarter, and that's exactly what Kerr is talking about.
"Perfect example," Kerr said. "He can make plays like that over and over again if he's going full bore all the time. But all young guys have to learn that lesson and that's the whole point of him being here."
With Golden State off to a 7-1 start and playing 10 or 11 players every night, it's going to be hard for Kuminga and fellow first-round draft pick Moses Moody to find consistent minutes. So playing in the G League will be their best way to get better and work on improving their games.