The Warriors have been impressed with Jonathan Kuminga’s offseason work and an early report questioning his attitude left Steve Kerr and Bob Myers confused.
On an episode of “First Take” on Aug. 23, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith expressed that he was concerned about Kuminga entering his second season and claimed that he was hearing rumblings about his lack of discipline off the court and was “shortchanging” the Warriors.
Kerr joined The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on the latest episode of “The TK Show” podcast, where he raved about the work Kuminga has put in during the offseason and recalled a couple of teaching moments during his rookie season where veterans Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green held him accountable and how those learning experiences benefitted him.
“Well, I think the things you mentioned happened last season,” Kerr said. “That’s all part of him being a young guy and that’s the great part of having Andre and Draymond and having these mentors, so that’s all perfectly normal. That’s what you want, you want your young guys to go through that and see the commitment that it takes for your older guys to mentor them. And that’s exactly what happened last year.
“JK’s had a really great summer, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s traveled some because he’s played for his national team during the summer, but he’s been working really hard.”
Of the report questioning Kuminga’s attitude, Kerr was caught off guard about the claims that Smith made, and what he’s seen from Kuminga throughout the summer completely contradicted the rumor.
“I know there was that weird report that came out, I think Stephen A. Smith said something about JK, and honestly, Bob [Myers] and I when that came out, called each other and asked each other ‘where did that come from?’” Kerr added. “Because it made no sense, because JK’s been great, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him, he’s worked hard, I enjoy coaching him. He’s right where he needs to be and he’s gotta just keep getting better every day. But we’re very happy with his summer and everything he’s committed to.”
Iguodala himself responded to the claim that Stephen A. made and echoed a similar sentiment to the one that Kerr expressed.
“My young fella, I’m on his head,” Iguodala said on an episode of the “Point Forward” podcast. “He took some licks from Stephen A. I don’t know how warranted they were because from what I heard he been doing what he supposed to do this summer.”
Heading into his second season, Kuminga has an opportunity for a big role with the Warriors and, according to his coach, is progressing nicely ahead of training camp.
Kerr and Iguodala refuting the claim with nearly the same response should give Warriors fans confidence that Kuminga is progressing as the team had hoped.