Kuminga joins Warriors in Las Vegas; Wiseman making ‘amazing progress’

LAS VEGAS — Jonathan Kuminga started his summer development work Wednesday when he reunited with the Warriors in Las Vegas after a short trip home to the Congo.

Similar to Moses Moody, this will be a pivotal offseason for Kuminga, who is expected to take a big leap in his second year in the league. He has all the physical traits to be an NBA star but is still learning the nuances of the way the Warriors play. He showed flashes of his potential during his rookie season, averaging 9.3 points on 51.3% shooting, and earned a starting role in the Western Conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Kuminga will benefit from the additional reps this month as he looks to polish his game.

“Summer League is a time when they can really start to grow again,” Warriors assistant coach Jama Mahlalela said, “and so he’s looking really good.”

The Warriors coaching staff is focused on getting Kuminga’s conditioning back up to speed before unleashing him in a Summer League contest. It’s unlikely the former No. 7 overall pick will play in the Warriors’ Las Vegas opener Friday against the Knicks, but he could make an appearance in any or all of Golden State’s final three games.

“We’ll kind of make sure his wind is right first and as soon as he’s ready we’ll get him out there and see what he can do,” said Mahlalela, who’s at the head of Golden State’s team in Las Vegas.

Kuminga, 19, is the fourth reigning NBA champion on Golden State’s summer squad, joining James Wiseman, Moody and Quinndary Weatherspoon who’ve been in the mix since the team opened practice last week.

Wiseman making progress

Wiseman continues to make “amazing progress” in his reintegration program so much so that Mahlalela believes Wiseman remains on track to return to game action in Las Vegas.

Wednesday was a scheduled light work day for Wiseman after he went through another five-on-five scrimmage Tuesday. Mahlalela said Wiseman’s most recent scrimmage was a grind but it overall went “really, really well.”

“As a player coming off injuries… it’s not always gonna look amazing,” said Mahlalela. “He fought through it, and I think that’s a normal build… He really sort of just looked like a real basketball player and for all of us, that’s so excited. I think in the next few days once his wind gets better, I think his performance will look even better than it did, but doing well.”

Wiseman is expected to play in another scrimmage Thursday as part of his ramp up process after he missed all of last season recuperating from a torn meniscus in his knee. He remains “day-to-day” as the Warriors training staff closely monitors how his body is reacting to the increased workload, Mahlalela said. It’s unlikely he’ll play in the Warriors’ Las Vegas opener Friday against the Knicks, but Mahlalela said he “definitely imagine the next few that we’ll be seeing him.”

Warriors ‘not rushing’ first-round pick

The Warriors aren’t in any hurry to put Patrick Baldwin Jr. in live action.

Why would they be?

Baldwin, the No. 28 pick of this year’s draft, is coming off an ankle injury that he first injured nearly two years ago and reaggravated last season at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Baldwin previously said he was “at the brink of” being full strength and working through the final hurdles to be cleared. He hasn’t received the green light from the Warriors training staff for contact but he went through all shooting and non-contact drills Wednesday, Mahlalela said.

“Patrick’s been in a really good space since we drafted him,” Mahlalela said. “He’s still not doing anything live but he’s in a nice growth process… of understanding how we move and where we move.

“He’s shooting the ball really, really well. And again, I think we’ll see how he progresses over Summer League. We’re not rushing, we know what we got, and we want him to be ready for the season. So we just kind of take him day-by-day and continue his growth.”

Baldwin has high upside but, similar to Wiseman, had little experience at the collegiate level. Baldwin played only 11 games for the Panthers due to his ankle issues. The Warriors believe Baldwin’s potential to be an NBA star far outweighed the risk that comes with drafting a player who’s on the mend. Golden State doesn’t need Baldwin to make an immediate impact this season, but it should be a good learning experience for the 19-year-old, who’s the newest member to the Warriors’ young core.

Contributed by local news sources

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