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Should Jonathan Kuminga Start for the Warriors?

By: Benjamin Sloutsky


Source: ESPN

Introduction

At the start of the 2023-2024 season, Jonathan Kuminga was constantly frustrated at the Warriors coaching system for benching him. However, Kuminga is very efficient and averages significant points sometimes. However, he can mess up occasionally when it comes to defense or giving up, and may not fully understand the Warriors system. Lately, Kuminga has been starting much more frequently, and the results of his playing are very vibrant. This article will analyze whether Kuminga should start or come off the bench.


Source: Bleacher Report

Methodology

To analyze this, we will use Kuminga’s offensive data against teams and his defensive data against teams, and we will combine everything to see whether his impact on the floor results in the Warriors winning more or losing more in the game.


Jonathan Kuminga Offense Analysis



According to the graph above (left), it is clearly visible that the Warriors win more games when he starts, as opposed to being benched. 


Although small, there is a correlation between the Warriors' score and the games they win, as the Warriors tend to win more games when they score more points. This shows that if players like Kuminga contribute to more point-scoring, it would probably result in more game victories for the Warriors. Below I analyze the correlation between whether Kuminga scores more points as a starter or a bench player.



Jonathan Kuminga averages significantly more points with the starting lineup as opposed to the bench, averaging around 18.4 PPG with the starting lineup and 13.8 PPG on the bench. Based on the analysis above it shows that Kuminga contributes to a higher score for the Warriors more often when he is starting as opposed to benched. From this, it shows that he increases the Warriors' chances of winning by starting.



The more minutes Kuminga plays, the more the Warriors tend to win. In a league where every minute counts, Kuminga playing more minutes tends to result on average in more wins than losses. As it shows, Kuminga averages ~29.4 minutes when the Warriors win and ~27.75 minutes when the Warriors lose. 




Additionally, as usual for players, when the Warriors win, Kuminga tends to have a higher field goal percentage than when the Warriors lose. This is a common data statistic for most players who tend to play significant minutes for their team, and Jonathan Kuminga is no exception.


Although Kuminga isn’t known for his passing, below shows how his assisting impacts the Warriors' ability to win.



Usually, more assists from players results in wins for teams. In Kuminga's case, it may not necessarily be true; in fact, he almost averages the same amount of assists in wins and losses (averages more for losses but not by a huge amount), so based on data, it seems that Kuminga's assists do not play a significant role in the Warriors' wins or losses.


Jonathan Kuminga Defense Analysis

Additionally, defense plays an important role in determining which team wins or loses. On most nights, Kuminga is assigned to guard some of the top players in the NBA. By analyzing Kuminga's defense, we will see whether he significantly makes it harder for his opponent to score over him or easier. We will also see how well he rebounds, steals, and blocks the ball. 


Below is a general statistic of the Warriors. It compares the Warriors' win percentage with how many points they allow the other team to score.



According to the bar charts shown above, it is clear that the Warriors lose more games when the other team scores more points.


Although it's hard to obtain a rough estimate of every player Jonathan Kuminga guarded during the entirety of each game, I compiled a list of the main players Jonathan Kuminga was assigned to guard for each game. In the list, I show what players Jonathan Kuminga guarded (left column), how many points the player got in the game (middle column), and how many points the player typically averages per game (right column). 




As shown by the table, players average more points against Kuminga than in a typical game against another team, meaning that Kuminga generally does not guard players as well as other teams' players. This means that other teams tend to score more points and win more because of Kumingas' defense (for the most part based on the Warriors' opponent score and win vs loss bar chart above). 













Above I also provided three bar graphs for Jonathan Kuminga's steals, blocks, and rebounds correlating to the Warriors' results. Typically Kuminga's rebounds don’t play a pivotal role in Warrior's win or losses in games. However, blocks and steals significantly impact the results of games, as the more blocks Kuminga gets, the more games the Warriors tend to win. This is also applicable for steals.



Although Kuminga averages more rebounds from the bench than as a starter, and despite rebounds playing a vital role in a game, his rebounding does not necessarily provide as big of an impact on the Warrior's success as other factors (proven earlier). On the other hand, blocks and steals are bigger factors from  Kuminga that help the Warriors win games. These analytics show that Kuminga averages more blocks and steals as a starter than as a bench player.


Some More Useful Analytics

Below is an image of minutes per game among Warriors players.


These pie charts are provided to show why in the first place analyzing Jonathan Kuminga would be so useful. He plays a pivotal role for the Warriors, and the pie charts below show how. 



As shown, Kuminga plays a significant role on the team, as he averages the 7th highest minutes per game out of all the Warriors players.


He also significantly contributes to the points per game for the Warriors as compared to the Warriors roster shown in the pie chart below:



Contributing 13.8% to the Warriors PPG out of the whole Warriors team, the third highest out of everyone.


Although Jonathan Kuminga averages more rebounds when being benched as opposed to starting he still greatly contributes to the majority of rebounds the Warriors get as shown in the pie chart below:



He contributes to 9.9% of the rebounds the Warriors get per game which is the fourth-highest out of the whole team.


Conclusion

Based on all the statistical analysis above, it is clear that Jonathan Kuminga should start, as it would greatly help the Warriors win more matches. He greatly helps the Warriors when it comes to factors such as scoring points. He could however improve other aspects of his defense, such as stealing and blocking the ball more to help the Warriors win more games. Based on our statistics earlier, Jonathan Kuminga contributes to the team more on both the offensive and defensive end (except for rebounding) when he is starting by helping the team more in both departments. 



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