After telling reporters earlier in the week that Jonathan Kuminga can earn a bigger role going forward by becoming a more versatile player, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr explained his thinking in more depth during an appearance on Tim Kawakami’s podcast on Friday.
“He’s a four,” Kerr said of Kuminga. “For him to take the next step, he needs to be able to play the three as an offensive player. He can play the three defensively; he can guard, really, one through four. But offensively, to play the three you’ve got to be really skilled in this league today, you’ve gotta see the floor, you’ve gotta be able to make plays. And right now, I think he’s much more of a four than he is a three on the offensive end.”
Kerr added that there’s a path for Kuminga to claim regular playing time as the team’s primary backup power forward next season.
Asked about a report stating that Kuminga’s representatives would talk to the Warriors this offseason in the hopes of their client getting either consistent minutes in Golden State or a change of scenery, Kerr downplayed the importance of that story.
“That’s standard in the NBA,” he told Kawakami.
Here are a few more highlights from Kerr’s podcast appearance:
- While Kuminga fell out of Golden State’s rotation in the postseason, fellow second-year player Moses Moody saw regular playoff minutes despite an up-and-down role in the second half of the season. According to Kerr, Moody earned his postseason playing time based on what he showed in practices. “Moses had a real breakthrough late in the season in the pickup games that our guys play and in 3-on-3 and the individual work,” Kerr told Kawakami. “You could see he realized a lot of things — how to use his strength, he realized how hard he had to play, how hard he had to go after loose balls, rebounds. That translates. … That’s what you look for — you look for someone who’s got perseverance and stays with it and keeps working and eventually breaks through. But you just don’t know how long that process is going to take.”
- Klay Thompson is coming off a subpar postseason by his standards and is entering his mid-30s, so Kerr wants to talk to the veteran sharpshooter about how his game can continue to evolve. But removing Thompson from the starting lineup won’t be a consideration next season. “He’s still a great two-way player. He’s got so much left to offer,” Kerr said. “… He just had a particularly great second half of the season. He’s still a starter in this league, for sure.”
- Kerr told Kawakami that he and Warriors executive Mike Dunleavy Jr. talk “pretty frequently” and that Dunleavy and president of basketball operations Bob Myers are “best friends.” Dunleavy is viewed as a logical candidate for a promotion if Myers doesn’t remain in Golden State. “I like to get his thoughts,” Kerr said of Dunleavy. “He had a long playing career, he’s been in the NBA his entire life, basically, with his dad being a coach and general manager and player. So Mike’s got a great feel for the league, great perspective, and he’s someone I really trust.”
- Kerr, the NBA’s third-longest tenured head coach, credited Stephen Curry for solidifying his job security during his time in Golden State. “Generally speaking, a long-tenured coach is beholden to (a superstar) like Steph Curry,” Kerr said. “So I’m completely aware that the only reason I’ve been here nine years is that I get to coach one of the all-time great players and human beings in NBA history.”