Wiggins believes Kuminga's rookie rise starts with this


With Draymond Green shelved for the Warriors' four-game road trip that just ended, rookie Jonathan Kuminga was given a much bigger role. He didn't disappoint. 

After being inactive to start the trip, Kuminga averaged 25.9 minutes off the bench in the final three contests. In those three games against the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves, Kuminga averaged 19.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Andrew Wiggins believes Kuminga grew up "a lot" on the road trip, and it all starts with his mindset. 

"He's believing in himself," Wiggins said. "When he does that, no one can stop him. Physically, he's god-gifted. The strength, athletic ability, quickness -- everything in his ability to play basketball. He's a smart young player, aggressive, a hell of a defender.

"He's coming into his own and it's good to see. He's a good kid."

Wiggins once was in Kuminga's shoes. Heralded as "Maple Jordan" for the Canadian being a top talent at a young age, Wiggins was the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft after one season at Kansas. His draft profile reads a lot like how he described Kuminga. 

The 6-foot-7 forward was seen as a great athlete who could be a dominant defender and turn into a star. But he found himself in a bad situation in Minnesota, lacked effort on the defensive end and didn't become what many predicted, even after winning Rookie of the Year. Now in his third year with the Warriors, Wiggins looks to be on his way to becoming an All-Star for the first time. He's one of the best two-way players in the league and is having the best shooting season of his career. 

His advice to the 19-year-old Kuminga is simple: Get to the basket and don't stop working. 

"Just staying aggressive and attacking the rim, not letting my defender relax," Wiggins said when asked about advice for Kuminga. "Just keep going and going. That's what he's learning to do and that's what he's doing."

Kuminga doesn't turn 20 years old until October. Listed at 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, he already is more physically ahead than the more slender Wiggins ever will be. He already is exceeding expectations as a teenager who was seen as a raw prospect going into the draft. 

The rookie might even be the Warriors' best answer with Green still out. 

RELATED: Predicting Warriors' seven-game homestand without Draymond

Wiggins has found his home here in San Francisco, and it appears to be the perfect situation for Kuminga. Once the No. 1 pick, Wiggins has seen it all and has a long list of on-court experiences to tell.

Adding mentor to his list of duties might be an unexpected one for Wiggins, but he could be the perfect vet for Golden State's newest bright and shiny prize.

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