Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins = the new Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen? Absolutely not, but their two-way play last night in a big home win against the Philadelphia 76ers has at least made it clear that the two can coexist on the court after much doubt earlier in the season.
Our guy Joe Viray has an excellent breakdown of how these two forwards are suddenly flourishing on the court alongside Draymond Green. This comes only a month after Joe was (like the rest of us) quite unimpressed by the Kuminga + Wiggins connection:
“Why is this pairing not working as theoretically intended? There are a multitude of reasons, but the most obvious is the fact that both of them are too similar to each other in terms of offensive roles, archetypes, and skill sets — in other words, redundant.”
Now the Warriors are finding a way to make that redundancy work for them with Green’s floor generalship and rim protection helping support them as they fly around the court.
Kuminga (26 points) and Wiggins (23 points) buoyed Stephen Curry’s 37 point scoring effort with offensive displays of their own. But it was their defensive work that really caught my eye. Both of those wings had three steals each, and their defensive intensity made it difficult for Philadelphia to sustain offensive momentum.
Whew, Kuminga is a 99th percentile athlete at his size— NBA University (@NBA_University) January 31, 2024
If Wiggins and Kuminga can play like this and Warriors get back CP3 and GP2...they might turn it around this year. Still want some defense and length but they can be good.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) January 31, 2024
This is the first time that two Warriors have had 3 steals in the same game since Curry and Jordan Poole pulled that feat off January 19th, 2023 in an overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.
After last night’s game I asked Coach Steve Kerr about the luxury of having two defensive aces capable of strangling out an offense, especially considering he played with two of the best at it in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen during his days with Bulls. His response:
That’s a huge part of NBA basketball, having wings who can generate some havoc and create some turnovers. You get out in transition and it helps your offense. It’s been fun the last week or two to watch Kuminga and Wiggins together, feeding off each other and playing well, whereas earlier in the year they struggled together.
Generating havoc and having fun? That sounds like Warriors basketball to me!
Will the Kuminga-Wiggins pairing continue to pay dividends for the Dubs?
This poll is closed
Yes, they’re figuring it out
Nah, I don’t trust those guys yet