Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga is determined to have a breakout season in the upcoming NBA campaign and cement his spot as a regular rotation player.
The 20-year-old was impressive in moments last season with his suffocating defense, improved shot-making and explosive finishes.
However, largely due to the team getting Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II back in the postseason, his role diminished somewhat.
Even though he’s had 26 playoff appearances in the NBA and won himself a ring, he feels like he hasn’t lived up to expectations as yet.
“This upcoming season is definitely the year,” Kuminga told ESPN at the Basketball without Borders camp in South Africa.
“A lot of people are expecting so much from me – and myself; I’m expecting a lot. It’s a lot of pressure, but I don’t really pay attention to the noise.
“The pressure is always going to be there. It’s just [on] me to go out there and perform.”
Kuminga has his sights on a stellar season but there’s something that he holds in higher regard than that.
“The achievement [I crave] is just growing as a person – there’s nothing more important than growing as a person,” he said.
“As long as you grow as a person, that opens up a lot of doors. Now you know what to do on the court and now you know what to do off the court – just [by] growing up.”
With changes afoot in the Bay, it’s hard to know exactly where Kuminga where will fit into the rotation but Warriors coach Steve Kerr made it clear what the youngster needs to improve on heading into a new season.
“The minutes are there for him to take at the backup four next year,” Kerr told The Athletic in May. “He’s gotta make strides, and he and I talked about it. The No. 1 thing is he’s gotta rebound. If he rebounds and he runs the floor, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity for him.”