The Golden State Warriors selected G League Ignite wing Jonathan Kuminga with the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Kuminga is viewed by most draft analysts as one of the players with the highest ceilings in this year’s draft class. At 18 years old he’s substantially younger than most players in the draft, the result of having forgone his senior year of high school to play professionally in the G League.
He put a lot of good and bad on display in the G League, where he averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks per night. His athleticism and raw talent were other-worldly, but he struggled to shoot the ball (24.6% on threes and 62.5% on free throws), and looked both over-matched and under-interested in defense. He developed a bit of a reputation for being a ball-stopper, albeit one who produced a tremendous amount of highlights.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell had Kuminga as the No. 12 prospect on his big board, saying:
Kuminga came to the United States from the Republic of Congo at the start of his high school career, and quickly established himself as the top player in his class. He was supposed to have one final year of high school ball left, but he decided to reclassify and join Jalen Green on the inaugural G League Ignite team. His 13 games in the G League were a mixed bag that displayed his impressive physical tools while also showcasing how far he has to go skill-wise.
A 6’8 wing with a sturdy frame, Kuminga projects as an aggressive downhill driver and spot-up shooter who has the quickness and strength to defend multiple positions. While it sounds like an appealing archetype, Kuminga still needs significant skill refinement to unlock each part of his game. He struggled to score efficiently with the Ignite, hitting less than 40 percent of his field goal attempts, less than 25 percent of his three-point attempts, and less the 65 percent from the foul line. He needs to tighten his handle to be more dynamic as a driver, and often lacked awareness as a passer. Kuminga is still big and strong and explosive enough to compete at the NBA level as his skill level improves over time. As one of the youngest prospects in the draft, Kuminga will need to find a team with a patient approach, but he could eventually be the type of oversized, two-way wing highly in demand in today’s NBA.
O’Donnell graded the pick as a “C” in his live draft grades.
Kuminga is viewed by many to have All-NBA potential if he puts his tools together, which not only is exciting for Warriors fans, but means that Golden State can use him as trade bait if a player like Bradley Beal becomes available later in the offseason. In fact, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Warriors are still fielding offers.
Trade talks dwindling, so it appears Kuminga will stay with Warriors, per source. https://t.co/5sAfAosQRQ— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 30, 2021
Assuming Kuminga stays with the Warriors, he’ll likely see a lot of time in the G League, or at the back of the bench as he continues to develop. This is a long-term move.
Kuminga is 6’8”, and 210 pounds, and was the No. 7 player on The Ringer’s big board, and No. 6 on The Athletic’s.
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