Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite Beat Jeremy Lin, Santa Cruz Warriors 109-104

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2021

G League Ignite's Jalen Green
G League Ignite's Jalen GreenAssociated Press

The Ignite kicked off the 2021 G League season with a 109-104 win over the Santa Cruz Warriors.

Jonathan Kuminga turned heads in his professional debut with 19 points and two blocks as one of several top prospects for the 2021 NBA draft on the Ignite.

NBA veteran Jarrett Jack was also key for the otherwise young squad, leading all players with 23 points off the bench. He helped the Ignite jump out to a 15-point halftime lead before it held on for a hard-fought victory Wednesday at AdventHealth Arena.

Kuminga's defense was key in sealing the win thanks to this late block:

NBA G League @nbagleague

jonathan. kuminga. 👀 https://t.co/BtRKK3GgFn

Jeremy Lin impressed in his return to American basketball after spending last year in China, finishing with 18 points and five assists for the Golden State affiliate.

It was the first game of the year for the G League, which will play its entire season in a bubble in Orlando, Florida, similar to the NBA's restart a year ago. 


Notable Performances

Jonathan Kuminga, SF, GLI: 19 points, 4 assists, 2 blocks

Jarrett Jack, PG, GLI: 23 points, 9-10 FG, 2 steals

Jalen Green, SG, GLI: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists

Jeremy Lin, PG, SCW: 18 points, 5 assists, 3 steals

Jordan Poole, SF, SCW: 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals

Nico Mannion, PG, SCW: 17 points, 6 assists, 7 turnovers


Jonathan Kuminga Improves Stock in 1st Game for Ignite

The Ignite feature several veteran players who played in the NBA, like Jarrett Jack and Amir Johnson, as well as experienced G League players like Brandon Ashley. Jack was especially important to help the team in its first game.

However, his minutes will likely remain low as most eyes will be on the younger prospects.

The experimental team features two of the top-five prospects and four total players in the latest 2021 mock draft by Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman. While college prospects have had months to showcase their ability to scouts, these players are just getting started.

Jonathan Kuminga took advantage with several highlight plays on the way to 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting, adding four assists.

NBA G League @nbagleague

we could get used to this @JonathanKuming6 https://t.co/twGDR6QDJM

NBA G League @nbagleague

lil spin move from @JonathanKuming6 https://t.co/XwAwgqRIPB

It was just one game, and the 1-of-7 three-point shooting wasn't great, but his stock is already up according to those watching along:

Connor Letourneau @Con_Chron

Jonathan Kuminga is legit. Have to think he gains some traction in the No. 1 conversation.

Dinos Trigonis @trigonis30

6-8+ Jonathan Kuminga (already a Top 5 pick) in next NBA Draft is improving his stock even more today in G-League bubble action. Very versatile pro scorer. The better NBA comparison is Paul George not Jaylen Brown (much bigger/longer than Brown) @Mike_Schmitz

John Hollinger @johnhollinger

What an impressive play by Kuminga just now. Turned down two different chances to take a quick pull-up so he could bait the big and drop it off for a lay-up. Whatever his draft stock was two hours ago, it ain't going down, I'll tell you that.

Sebagstian Telfar @KingThelonious

Kuminga looks NBA ready right now.

His passing, like this key dish to Jalen Green, was especially surprising to new viewers:

ESPN @espn

Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green already clicking on the break 🍿 https://t.co/8Tp34CjEsJ

Green had a slower start to his professional career despite high expectations, finishing with 11 on 4-of-10 shooting.

Jonathan Wasserman @NBADraftWass

Rough first half for Jalen Green who struggled to identify and create quality scoring chances. Will have to adjust to a role where ball isn't always in his hands.

He performed better in the second half, displaying his athleticism and shooting even though his first game left much to be desired.

Point guard prospect Daishen Nix turned heads with his size and playmaking:

NBA G League @nbagleague

first bucket in the league for @djfromveg keep watching on ESPN2 https://t.co/nfTTpbnIuJ

Jason Jordan @JasonJordanSI

Daishen Nix came to play.

Nix finished with 12 points and three assists in just 19 minutes off the bench, but he likely earned more playing time going forward.

For these players, the wins and losses aren't as important as showcasing their talent to scouts at the next level.


Jeremy Lin Shines in G League Audition for Warriors

Nine years after Linsanity, Jeremy Lin showed he still has plenty of basketball skill with a strong performance in his season debut.

The guard was efficient, knocking down shots while finding open teammates throughout the game:

NBA G League @nbagleague

.@JLin7 gettin' buckets in this first half keep watching on ESPN2 https://t.co/YUrp5Y5YJY

Kazeem Famuyide 🍎 @Kazeem

All these high rated prospects and Jeremy Lin is clearly the best player on the floor and he probably won’t sniff an NBA court this season. It’s levels

In a game where players are trying to put up big numbers and flash their potential, Lin scored 18 on just nine shots and had a 5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The 32-year-old last appeared in the NBA in 2019, helping the Toronto Raptors win a title, but he could be back in the league before too long if he keeps up this level of play.

Other players on the team are hoping for chances with the Golden State Warriors, including 2019 first-round pick Jordan Poole.

The wing finished with a team-high 22 points, adding three steals with quality defense and some deep shots:

Ridiculous Upside @RidicUpside

Jordan Poole just nailed a beautiful step-back 3. The Golden State's prospect's jumper has looked smooth today.

The downside came with his overaggressiveness as he was 7-of-22 from the field, including 2-of-9 from inside the arc.

Nico Mannion also struggled with his shot (6-of-18) and finished minus-17 on the court, although he took on a tough task guarding Green. The 2020 second-round pick has plenty of confidence but will need to show more in order to reach the next level.


What's Next?

The G League Ignite will return to action Friday against the Oklahoma City Blue. Santa Cruz will face the Delaware Blue Coats in its next game Friday.