14 Jan

Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga reportedly ‘losing faith’ in Steve Kerr, and he’s not the only unhappy young player

The wheels seem to be falling off for the Golden State Warriors. On top of Draymond Green’s current indefinite suspension, which reportedly could be coming to an end fairly soon, Klay Thompson’s shooting struggles and blunt conversation with Steve Kerr, there are also some disgruntled young players on the roster.

Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga is reportedly losing faith in Kerr, per The Athletic. Kuminga reportedly feels as though Kerr won’t allow him to reach his full potential with the Warriors, creating a rift between him and the head coach. The situation came to a head after Golden State’s loss to the Nuggets Thursday night, where despite having another strong performance, Kuminga didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter.

“[Thursday night] was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” a source told The Athletic.

Kerr addressed the report on Friday prior to the team’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

“We talked,” Kerr said. “Obviously those things are better discussed behind the scenes. Any time something like that goes public it creates a distraction. It’s important for all of our guys — and I talked to our whole team about it — you got an issue? I’m here. I am the most accesible coach in the league probably. My door is always open.

“It’s a difficult situation because every player naturally has his own goals, his own dreams. Everybody wants to flourish, everybody wants to blossom. We have a lot of guys who are capable of playing and I have very difficult decisions to make each and every night. [Kuminga] is a young player, he’s growing, he’s getting better, that’s why he’s been in the starting lineup. He will continue to grow and this is all part of his growth.”

Kuminga, 21, had a super-efficient 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, as well as four rebounds and assists apiece. When he checked out of the game with 5:48 left in the third quarter, the Warriors were down 85-84. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Warriors worked up a 13-point lead, but as the fourth quarter carried on that lead dwindled until Golden State eventually lost the game. But Kuminga wasn’t put back in the game to try and stop Denver from making a comeback.

When asked after the game the reasoning for the young forward not getting back in the game down the stretch, Kerr mentioned how Andrew Wiggins was also playing well, and that at one point it felt like Kuminga was sitting for too long to then put him back in the game late.

“He was playing great,” Kerr said. “His normal time to go back in would have been around the five-, six-minute mark [of the fourth]. [Wiggins] was playing great, we were rolling, were up 18, 19, whatever it was. So we just stayed with him. Then at that [later] point, it didn’t feel like the right thing to do. He had been sitting for a while, so I stayed with the group that was out there, and, obviously, we couldn’t close it out.”

This isn’t the first time Kuminga has been upset about how he’s being used, as he voiced some confusion after Golden State’s loss on Christmas to the Nuggets.

“Sometimes, I come out the game not knowing what I did,” Kuminga said. “And that messes with my head. It’s like, ‘What they want me to do?’ I can pass and I can do different s—.”

Kuminga has seen an increased role since he was inserted into the starting lineup for Green following his suspension in December, but his minutes have at times been inconsistent, like Thursday where he only saw 19 minutes of action. The same is true of Golden State’s Dec. 17 game against the Trail Blazers, where despite starting and having another efficient 5-of-7 night for 12 points with four rebounds and a steal, Kuminga played just under 19 minutes.

Kuminga has taken great strides in his third season with the Warriors, but it appears as though he wants an even larger role than he’s been given, or at least some consistency. He’s also not the only younger player on the team who wants more. Third-year guard Moses Moody is also reportedly “frustrated” with his role, as he’s registered three consecutive DNP-CD’s in the Warriors last three games, where they’ve gone 1-2.

With the lack of success as of late for the Warriors, who are now 16-18 on the season and sit 11th in the West, it sounds like there’s frustration all around the organization. We’ll have to see how these latest reports impact the team going forward, or if there’s perhaps a trade to be made to eliminate some of the logjam in the rotation as well as improving the roster, but for now it seems like Golden State is on a downward spiral.

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