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Dub Hub: Steve Kerr explains benching Jonathan Kuminga in loss vs. Nuggets

Rounding up all Warriors and NBA related news for Friday, January 5th.

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Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Warriors News:

Steve Kerr on why Kuminga never returned to the game: “It didn’t feel like the right thing to do because he was sitting for awhile”

Why JK wasn’t surprised by lack of fourth-quarter minutes vs. Nuggets | NBC Sports Bay Area

The way Kuminga sees it, that’s how it has been for him during his entire time with Golden State. And with Kerr continuing to fiddle with his rotations, it certainly was no surprise that Kuminga spent the final 12 minutes of the game as a spectator instead of being on the court in crunch time.

“It’s tricky. Since I’ve been here, we don’t have just five guys that we know that they’re supposed to be on the floor whenever it’s closing time,” Kuminga said. “It’s a little, I don’t know how to say it, it’s a little weird. I’ve been here for three years now, I’m used to it. I’m never surprised when I see a lineup change at the end of the game or even in the game. It’s a culture thing.”

‘Here to continue the same legacy’: Why Golden State’s youngsters just became so important | ESPN

Kuminga has taken it upon himself to be a leader for the Warriors’ young players, drawing on his own experience of inconsistency to help the team get back on track. It’s a different mindset for a player following his postseason benching.

“That’s what keeps me motivated. It keeps me patient every time. I have been through so much — not playing, then playing, then not playing,” Kuminga said. “Everything was just so inconsistent. That’s what I always try to tell them: Things are always going to change.

“At some point, they are going to want us to take this job. They are going to want us to help the older guys until it’s their time. Then we are here to continue the same legacy.”

People around Moses Moody ‘frustrated’ with his role on the Warriors according to Jason Dumas

Three Teams to Watch as NBA Trade Season Heats Up | The Ringer

With so many issues, I could theoretically see the Warriors trading Looney or Wiggins, in addition to CP3 on his expiring contract. There is no single magic trade to propel the Warriors from the middle of the pack to a contender once again. But with Kuminga and Moses Moody, they have two tradable young guys to pair with their first-round picks from 2025 through 2029 at their disposal.

Some of the names mentioned as theoretical targets in the Kings section—Pascal Siakam, Jarrett Allen, and Nic Claxton—apply to the Warriors as well. Perhaps, the Warriors would also consider making calls for versatile forwards like Lauri Markkanen, Jerami Grant, and Jonathan Isaac. Of those three, Grant would likely be the most acquirable: Maybe CP3, Moody, and picks would have appeal to Portland?

Gary Payton II will be re-evaluated in three weeks after suffering strained hamstring

NBA News:

After a sluggish start with James Harden, the Clippers suddenly look legit | Yahoo Sports

“Obviously, it didn’t start off well,” Harden told reporters after Wednesday’s win in Phoenix. “So many people was — it gave people so much to talk about in a negative way — and now those people that were talking are nowhere to be found. Like, literally nowhere to be found.”

One thing that has a way of quieting down critics? Seeing Leonard consistently perform at a near-MVP level.

Early in the season, Leonard wasn’t blowing by his defenders as often, generating as much separation or getting as much elevation on his jumpers as he typically does at his best. As the season’s worn on, though, he’s gotten back enough burst that, combined with his downright hilarious strength, he’s blown right past “warmed up” to “scorching,” shooting a career-high 59% on dribble-drives and 81% overall in the restricted area.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham’s standing in question amid locker room disconnect: Sources | The Athletic

There’s currently a deepening disconnect between Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room, six sources with direct knowledge of the situation say, raising questions about the head coach’s standing. The people spoke with The Athletic on condition of anonymity so that they could speak freely on the matter. Those sources have described that the disjointedness between the coach and team has stemmed from the extreme rotation and starting lineup adjustments recently from Ham, leading to a fluctuating rhythm for several players across the roster.

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead first returns for All-Star Fan Voting

In case you missed it at Golden State of Mind:

Player grades: Warriors vs. Nuggets

Brandin Podziemski

28 minutes, 13 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 5-for-10 shooting, 3-for-4 threes, 65.0% TS, -2

It took me until today to realize that Podziemski reminds me of Brock Purdy. They have similar facial features (if very different styles and hair choices), the same irrational and lovable swagger and confidence, and they’re both substantially better than they have any right to be. All that’s missing is a shared phallic nickname.

If the Warriors ever turn things around, I feel quite confident that Podziemski will be a big reason why. His energy, fearlessness, and selflessness are exactly what the team needs, and you can already see his influence on the veteran players.

Keep doing your thing, Podz.

Grade: A-

Report: Draymond Green is ramping up for return

That also means that Steve Kerr has yet another decision to make in his rotations, in a year full of them. Jonathan Kuminga has thrived as Green’s replacement as the starting power forward, averaging 14.5 points and shooting 56% since being elevated to the starting lineup. Gary Payton II’s expected 2-3 week absence with a hamstring strain eases the glut of players, but it’s still been hard for players like Moses Moody or Cory Joseph to get minutes.

A tweet to end the week:

Follow @unstoppablebaby on Twitter for all the latest news on the Golden State Warriors.

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