Zaza reveals what has been early key to Kuminga's development

Jonathan Kuminga

There have been many bright spots to the Warriors' 15-2 start this season, and the play of rookie Jonathan Kuminga certainly has been among them.

While the 2021 first-round pick is only averaging 8.5 minutes per game, he has had a number of impressive moments that have offered a glimpse into just how good he can be.

The 19-year-old still is very early on in his NBA development. There will be many more lessons for Kuminga to learn and master. But Warriors executive Zaza Pachulia explained how Golden State already has seen growth in the young wing.

"Looking at every player's career, right? It's ups and downs," Pachulia told 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast" on Tuesday. "It's a journey. Everybody has their own story. They all need different timing. [Kuminga] had a little bit of a slow start. It took some time to figure out what you really need to do day in and day out. It's not a one-day thing or one-game preparation. It's a whole year. It's a long season, it's a long career for a guy like [Kuminga] because he's talented. The conversation we had with him is you have to step back a little bit and look at a 10-plus, 15-plus year career. It's a journey. It's a lot of games, a lot of practices and a lot of days and years.

"So you can't be anxious about winning now. It's not about winning now for you as a person. It's about keep getting better every single day. Learning something. Even when you're not playing, you still have a chance to get better with just scouting the players because every single night you're going to face and have to guard a different type of player with different types of strengths. So I think he thought about and he figured it out. His workout level has been increased and he got to the point where coaches start trusting him because he was locked in. The biggest challenge for a young player is the focus thing, right? Because you have a great game and everybody is talking about you, the social media, the articles about you. It's a different situation. You're getting excited, you kind of relax on all the small details that you have been doing until now and that's why you had a successful game. It's a journey, it's a learning process. But I think [Kuminga] has figured it out, he's being very locked in, going hard, doing the right things in practices and coaches trust him now, so he is getting minutes for him in that role and he only can get better."

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The Warriors drafted Kuminga with the No. 7 overall pick this past summer. Kuminga was not expected to be an immediate contributor to a Warriors team with plans to jump back into NBA title contention.

But if Kuminga keeps showing flashes in games and continues to bring it during practice, coach Steve Kerr might have to find a bigger role for the rookie.

Until then, Kuminga will remain of the many cogs in the Warriors' deep and talented second unit that has already shown flashes of its vast potential.

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