Kerr applauds ‘best five-game stretch' of JK's career

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The superstar potential Jonathan Kuminga possesses recently has been on full display with the Warriors.

After Golden State concluded its testy five-game road trip with back-to-back wins, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a step back to assess the 20-year-old’s recent efforts. 

“Probably the best five-game stretch of his career,” Kerr said after the Warriors’ big 127-125 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. “The game is looking like it's becoming simpler for him and easier somehow. He's more at ease with himself on the floor at both ends. It's fun to watch.” 

The recent surge comes after Kuminga missed three games with a mild ankle sprain after he rolled his ankle during pregame warmups on March 9.

Over the last five games, the second-year forward is averaging 16.2 points on 62.3 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range, 4.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26.1 minutes. The 6-foot-7 forward has a career average of 9.5 points in 18.6 minutes. 

Kuminga's most impressive showing of the 2-3 road trip came on Wednesday against the Mavs, scoring a game-high 22 points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals in 31 minutes off the bench. But his biggest contribution was on the other end of the floor chasing and wearing out Mavs star Luka Dončić. 

His high-flying dunks at American Airlines Center provided the Warriors with a re-energized boost of the bench they desperately need during the final stretch of the season if they want to defend their latest title. 

While Kerr has been impressed with Kuminga over the stretch, things weren't as promising a few months ago. Earlier in the season, Kuminga was in and out of the rotation and received a handful of DNPs (Did Not Play). He reacted, reflected and decided he wanted to never be in that situation again. 

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"It's hard for young guys to come into this league and pick up everything that's being thrown at them," Kerr said. "But he's done that and here we are near the end of his second year. He's just dramatically better than he was when he first arrived.

"So testament to him and his work ethic and his resilience in the face of a lot of adversity, a lot of difficult ups and downs." 

Patience and hard work is paying off for the young forward, and the Warriors are hoping for the same during their final eight games of the regular season. 

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