For all of the Golden State Warriors‘ accomplishments over the past decade, their ability to build their team organically was among the main reasons that people spoke so highly of them.
At their genesis they were buoyed by veteran big men in David Lee and Andrew Bogut, who spent the first few seasons of their career with the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks respectively. Nonetheless, the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green were able to develop over the course of several seasons. The end result being one of the winningest trios in NBA history.
However, where former head coach Mark Jackson thrived in the area of player development, his replacement in Steve Kerr found his success with outside-the-box thinking.
The tradeoff has become increasingly clear.
Former lottery picks such as Harrison Barnes and James Wiseman have fallen by the wayside with the Warriors charging forward to amass four NBA championships. Even their best player development success story of Steve Kerr’s tenure, combo guard Jordan Poole, leaves something to be desired. Drafted by Golden State in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, Poole has the salary and confidence of an upper echelon starter but the approach and consistency of a sixth man.
Consequently, Warriors fans have become dismayed by promising players like Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga being relegated to mop-up duty. This despite demonstrating the ability to be quality rotation players.
In fact, Kuminga’s frustrations have become so apparent that trading him may become necessary, lest they run the risk of another blow to their team chemistry. The last blow coming by way of an infamous in-practice punch by Green.
That said, the Warriors trading Kuminga — as they traded Wiseman — would be far from the worst idea. Especially if they’re not going to utilize him.
One of the Golden State Warriors biggest problems against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 NBA Playoffs was their lack of size, even with 6-foot-9 center Kevon Looney dominating on the boards.
After all, the reason that the Warriors selected James Wiseman second overall in the 2020 NBA Draft wasn’t just because of his potential two-way impact, it was because they truly valued what he could add to their interior presence. Particularly at 7-foot-0 and 240 pounds.
Fortunately for them, the Charlotte Hornets have multiple young center prospects at their disposal that provide them with size and shot-blocking presence that may have extended their postseason at least a little bit longer.
The most experienced being 25-year-old center Nick Richards, a 2020 second-round pick that averaged career-highs of 8.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 18.9 minutes per game last season. Coming off the bench behind Looney, the Warriors retain the option of going small but now can match the size of their opponents as well. Even more, for teams with a downhill style like the Lakers, Sacramento Kings or Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State will be better prepared thanks to the 7-foot-0, 245-pound big man.
For Kuminga, the chance to play with an excellent passer in LaMelo Ball and replace free agent forwards Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington is exactly the opportunity he needs to have a breakout season.
Kuminga, a career 35.3 percent shooter from deep, will be asked to stretch the floor in Charlotte. However, he excels at scoring around and above the rim, off-ball or off-the-dribble. Not to mention, he can often defend the opponent’s primary scoring option, which could come in handy against teams like the Miami Heat or Milwaukee Bucks.
That type of versatility makes him an ideal pickup for Charlotte.
Speaking of the Miami Heat, their ability to succeed in spite of an injury to volume scorer Tyler Herro has been impressive.
So too is the fact that they’ve done so while starting a power forward in Kevin Love whose consistency and defensive impact are questionable at best. Yet, for all his physical limitations, Love has been a more trustworthy option in the frontcourt than the lean Haywood Highsmith or undersized Caleb Martin.
Which is where Jonathan Kuminga, a well-built forward that often appears larger than his listed size of 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, comes in.
Averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 rebounds on 52.5 percent shooting from field and 37.0 percent shooting from 3 this season, Kuminga could excel in an expanded role with the Heat. Already averaging 17.2 points per 36 minutes in 2022-23, Kuminga averaged 16.9 points per game last season in when he played at least 30 minutes. He did so efficiently as well, shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from 3 in those eight contests.
Though a relatively small sample size, his scoring double-digits in 62 of his 137 career games inspires confidence about his ability to be a reliable offensive option for the Heat. The trio of he, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo could make life miserable for plenty of opposing frontcourts. On both ends.
For the Warriors, trading Kuminga could mean landing a defensive-minded forward like Highsmith or Martin to further bolster their perimeter defense. Miami would likely be willing to surrender a 2023 or 2024 first-round pick for Kuminga as well.
In sticking with the team of championship contenders, another franchise that fits Jonathan Kuminga is one that was felled by the Miami Heat in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
The Milwaukee Bucks, who have a glaring need for a physically imposing forward that can guard players like Jimmy Butler. That player was supposed to be journeyman Jae Crowder, for whom Milwaukee traded several players and a multitude of second-round picks in order to pry from the Phoenix Suns.
However, with Crowder playing 41 total minutes in the 2023 NBA Playoffs and heading to free agency this offseason, it’s time for the Bucks to search for an alternative.
While the Golden State Warriors may not be too keen on helping a team they could meet in the NBA Finals, it’s better than trading him inside of the Western Conference. This holds even more true if the Bucks are willing to trade Khris Middleton to them as part of a larger deal that would send both Kuminga and Jordan Poole to Milwaukee.
Such a move would provide the Bucks with the off-the-dribble scorer they’re missing in Poole.
Meanwhile, in gifting the Warriors with an excellent off-ball shooter in Middleton, they improve the Golden State’s chemistry on and off the court.
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Courtesy : https://clutchpoints.com/warriors-trade-destinations-jonathan-kuminga