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Ognjen Kuzmić: What does the future hold for the talented, 25 year old Warriors center?

Ognjen Kuzmić was a part of two different championship teams last year. First with the Santa Cruz Warriors, and then with the Dubs. We look ahead to his upcoming spot on the Vegas Summer League team and think about his potential role in the organization moving forward.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ognjen Kuzmić  stands seven feet tall, has a wingspan like a small Andean Condor, and is the same age as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

For someone who has been a part of the organization since being drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft, there is still much to learn about the Bosnian-born big man.

But before we get into all that, let's watch one specific play:

Kuzmic rotates, closes out on the shooter, easily blocks the shot (basically with his forearm, for chrissakes), and then takes it the length of the court and finishes. Granted, this is the D League, and granted plays like this happen with more and more regularity as big men become more polished and more athletic, but it is impressive nonetheless.

Here are his per-game stats from the limited NBA playing time he's seen the past two years:

In comparison, here are his per-game stats for the past two seasons in the D League:

It is basically impossible to infer future NBA-level production from these numbers. I mean, the dude only played 72 total NBA minutes last year, almost entirely at the tail-end of blowouts.

So, for inspiration, let's dig a little deeper into youtube.


Amazing touch on the backdoor passes (from the D League finals):

DUNK FACE (well, very positive, smiling, thumbs-up DUNK FACE):


Kuzmic wants you to be happy. He wants to make nifty passes, show off his footwork, and be a part of a winning team.

Nate Parham only refers to him as "Kuzlajuwon," and while it's an over-the-top, ridiculous comparison, perhaps he's on to something.

But the caveat in this whole thought is that Kuzmic is already 25. He is shaping into a fine player, but what, truly, is his ceiling? How much further can he progress? And by the time he achieves his ceiling, will there be a spot for him on the roster? Is he the future back up center behind Festus Ezeli? Then again, is Ezeli heir-apparent to Bogut? I mean, Bogut is only five years older than these guys. How many more years does he have in him?

The Warriors believe in Kuzmic enough to have recently extended him a qualifying offer. They'll be able to match any offer he gets this summer.

His performance in the upcoming Las Vegas summer league could go a long way in helping us understand what the future may hold.

For now, let me give one huge shout out to the 2012 Warriors draft. It is the the gift that keeps on giving. Harrison Barnes, Festus, Draymond, and Kuz? AND they're all still on the team and all were standing onstage when Adam Silver handed the championship trophy to Steph? Jeez, Bob Myers, have yourself a day.

Quick note: I will be in attendance at this year's summer league games, and will be documenting from the scene. Expect craziness. Expect everything. Much more to come, very soon.

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