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DiVincenzo out Monday, Kuminga into rotation

Young Jonathan Kuminga played into the Warriors’ bench rotation, but the Michael Jordan of Delaware will nurse his injured hamstring until Friday

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors
Donte DiVincenzo and Jonathan Kuminga - two guys who would help the Warriors’ terrible bench if they played more
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Steve Kerr promised the shake up the bench rotation after the team lost to Orlando Thursday night. That shakeup will start tonight, as the Golden State Warriors host their cousins to the east, the three-win Sacramento Kings.

Kuminga went from being buried on the bench to playing 38 minutes on Friday in New Orleans, with four Warriors starters resting. Kerr told reporters, “He looked fine the whole time,” which while a tepid endorsement is nonetheless an endorsement of the 20-year-old forward. But Kerr stressed the team needs assist Kuminga with his development.

“We’re trying to help him with all the little details that young players need to learn...JK will be part of the new rotation, and I’m excited to play him. He’s just got to keep doing what he’s doing.”

Kerr also spoke about combinations, and at least early, it appears that the Warriors don’t believe James Wiseman and Kuminga should be a combo. If Kuminga is elevated to the rotation, that may mean we will see less of Big Jim. Wiseman didn’t so himself any favors Friday night, taking only a single field goal attempt (He also shot four free throws) in his 17 minutes. Meanwhile Kuminga had 18 points on 7-12 shooting and provided a rim-attacking presence that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere on the Warriors roster.

It’s also possible that Kuminga plays the three, and the Warriors play him - with or without Wiseman - alongside Anthony Lamb as a shooting threat at power forward. JaMychal Green is theoretically a stretch four, but his three-point stroke has abandoned him in the past two seasons.

Klay Thompson was excited.

The key word in that quote is “effort,” something that hasn’t always been consistent with Kuminga. What has been consistent is flashes on incredible potential, both in rim-rattling dunks and his defense, which ranges from guarding big men to checking Chris Paul.

One guy who won’t be joining the reconfigured rotations yet is Donte DiVincenzo, who is practicing again, but won’t play until at least Friday.

DiVincenzo got hurt in the third quarter of the Warriors’ third game, a battle with his former team, the Kings. Things immediately went downhill for the bench, as the Warriors nearly blew a giant lead to Sacramento with DiVincenzo out and then went 1-6 in the next seven games, dragged down by rough play by the reserves. His return will also allow Jordan Poole to play more off-ball, which should help his sputtering offense. Who else might return Friday? Mr. Andre Iguodala.

Even with two reserves coming back, it seems like Kuminga will get a good chance to prove himself. Draymond Green talked about coming off the bench as a defensive stopper when he was a rookie - to guard Kobe.

“As a young guy in this league, you’ve got to appreciate opportunities,” Green told Anthony Slater. “Wherever that opportunity comes, you’ve got to figure it out.”

Kuminga needs to figure it out, and so do the 3-7 Warriors. It’s not yet time to panic, but for the young Warriors, it’s time to step up.

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