Jonathan Kuminga on the Warriors: ‘I want to play here my whole life’

Jesse Cinquini
5 Min Read
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga — who is in his third season in the NBA, all as a member of the Warriors organization — has expressed a desire to be a member of the franchise for the entirety of his NBA career.

“I would love to just be one of the Warriors for life – and just never change,” Kuminga said.

Not too long ago, Kuminga saw his name get bounced around in trade rumors.

Back in November, a league executive said that he thought the Warriors were close to a breaking point where they would have to trade the 21-year-old.

“I did not lose faith of being here; it’s not what I said,” Kuminga said. “It was just definitely to a point where I felt like I need to be [on the court]. I felt like I could help. I felt like there was just so much left on the table where I felt like me and the young guys could go out there and help Steph (Stephen Curry), Klay [Thompson] and Draymond [Green].

“And, obviously, since that happened, we got a chance to have the young guys on the floor. And having the young guys on the floor and everybody playing is helping us win games, with everybody getting better every other day.”

But when the trade deadline passed last month, Kuminga was still with Golden State, and he has arguably been the Warriors’ second-best player — behind only Curry — since the end of the All-Star break.

Kuminga has played in 12 games ever since the break came to an end, and during that span he is averaging 18.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 51.2 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.

“It was just me trying to go out there and just find a way to play,” Kuminga said. “Find a way to be on the floor. Find a way to help every young guy get their chance. And as you see every young guy getting a chance, including me, we are doing the things that we were supposed to be doing. We’re not going to help every day. We’re not going to win every day.

“But as you gain that experience, you’re going out there and just helping as much as we can.”

He has also scored 20 points or more in four of his last five games, with the one exception being when he finished with 19 on 5-of-11 shooting from the field in a loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 7.

In Kuminga and the Warriors’ most recent game versus the Dallas Mavericks on March 13, he scored a team-high 27 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal while converting both of his 3-point attempts and nine of his 10 shots from the charity stripe.

“When I look at those three people – Steph and Klay and Draymond – and I look at their pictures in the practice facility every day, I’m like, ‘This is where I want to be,’” Kuminga continued. “I want to be right there. I want to play here my whole life.

“You don’t choose and control where you want to be, but that’s the goal. That’s where I want to be. I want my name hanging next to those guys one day. And, you know, anywhere you get drafted, you always have love for the places you get drafted.  And, obviously, I got drafted here. The people are great. They always take care of me. They’re always helping me grow as a person.”

But without Curry in the lineup, the Warriors lost to Dallas by 10 points, which marked the team’s third loss in its last four games.

Hopefully for Golden State, Kuminga can keep his streak of scoring 20-plus points for the Warriors going strong when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers on the road on Saturday night. If Kuminga were to score 20 points or more versus the Lakers, it would mark his fourth game in a row where he has managed to achieve that mark.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.