HomeBasketball TodayRookie sensation Jonathan Kuminga opens up about Draymond Green's mentorship during unexpected...

Rookie sensation Jonathan Kuminga opens up about Draymond Green’s mentorship during unexpected break

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Draymond Green has been instrumental to Jonathan Kuminga’s rise.

Jonathan Kuminga stepped into the starting lineup for the Golden State Warriors, taking over for Draymond Green who was suspended after an incident where he struck Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face during a December 13th game.

After facing his second suspension of the season, Green stayed away from the Warriors. He spent his time at home in Los Angeles, participating in counseling sessions and virtual meetings as part of his efforts to meet the conditions for his reinstatement.

Communication with Jonathan Kuminga and the Warriors

Throughout his time away, the 34-year-old Green maintained regular communication with his replacement Kuminga, providing detailed feedback after each game with messages containing notes, video clips, and voice memos regarding the youngster’s performances.

Kuminga shared with ESPN that Green’s time watching games at home involved film study, which in turn helped him gain a better understanding of himself.

During his absence of 16 games, Green also stayed in touch with teammates Stephen Curry and Chris Paul, as well as Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Additionally, Green received daily texts from his former college coach, Tom Izzo of Michigan State.

“I wanted to pick up everything he knows,” said Kuminga via ABC7 Bay Area. “With him, he won’t just give [advice] up if you don’t compete big-time.”

Draymond Green’s suspensions

After Green’s initial suspension of five games for a chokehold incident involving Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert during a November 14 defeat, Kuminga stepped up to start in his place for the following game.

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Draymond Green’s suspension for striking Nurkic, which occurred just six games after his return from the Gobert incident, marked a pivotal moment for the 6-foot-7 Jonathan Kuminga. During the 16 games without Green, Kuminga showcased his talent by averaging 18.4 points per game, securing his spot in the starting lineup for the Golden State Warriors.

During that period without Green, the Warriors’ defense struggled, ranking 28th in the league. Despite a promising five-game winning streak in mid-December, the team faced challenges, losing seven of its next 10 games.

Kuminga-Green combo

Upon Green’s return on January 15, with the team below .500 once again, coach Kerr opted to have Green and Kuminga start alongside each other in an effort to bolster the team’s performance.

Green and Kuminga’s partnership has been instrumental, contributing to the team’s 17-8 record this season when both start. Kuminga has particularly thrived, shooting an impressive 73% directly off passes from Green, marking one of the league’s highest percentages between two teammates.

The discussions between Green and Kuminga have been immensely valuable for the team, especially as they prepare for the postseason push, where they’ll rely on the experience of the future Hall of Famer alongside the contributions of the young forward, with their journey likely commencing in the Western Conference play-in tournament.

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About the Author

Nathan Yasis is a writer for ClutchPoints.

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