The Golden State Warriors took a gamble in selecting the talented but raw Jonathan Kuminga with the No. 7 overall choice in this year’s NBA Draft. But will it pay off?
During the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, the 6-foot-8 Kuminga showcased his enormous potential. He also displayed the reasons he slipped in the draft, committing ample turnovers and struggling to play within the flow of the Warriors’ motion offense.
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie touched on those shortcomings from Kuminga, as well as some other concerns, in his NBA Summer League scouting reports. But then he allowed himself to picture what Kuminga could become in Golden State.
But if he hits, he’s going to hit as a big-time wing creator. He’s very physical and plays through contact with ease. Some of the contorting layups at the rim were incredibly impressive. When he gets a head of steam, he finishes far above the rim. Some of the development in terms of change of pace handle has been solid since we last saw him in the G League. His on-ball defense when he was locked in was indicative of a potential shut-down defender. It’s all a game of consistency and becoming that level player all the time, and being in Golden State hopefully will be good for him to develop that killer instinct to bring it every possession, and to develop the basketball IQ side of the equation as a young player next to Draymond Green and Stephen Curry.Sam Vecenie/The Athletic
The basketball IQ part of this is key. At just 18 years old, Kuminga has some time to develop that aspect of his game, and parts of it are already apparent.
But the Warriors need immediate help for superstars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. There are other wings on the roster that can fill a role, such as F Andre Iguodala. But the sooner Kuminga can put it all together and resemble the player Vecenie talks about above, the better for Golden State.
Kuminga’s upside is incredible, however, and I believe that with the gravity of Curry, Kuminga’s nose for the rim can pay off immediately, even if he’s still a relatively raw player. We’ll find out when the season starts, assuming Kuminga is on the big club, not with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Either way, October can’t get here soon enough.