The 2021 NBA Draft class is very top heavy with five players standing out above all others, one of those talents being Jonathan Kuminga. He will be a name to watch early in NBA mock draft projections.
Not a lot of people know about Kuminga and his skill-level because he decided to skip playing college basketball and was one of the young talents to come straight out of high school into the NBA G-League.
This year, the 18-year-old forward played for the G-League Ignite team and was quite successful in his role. In 13 G-League games this year, Kuminga averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and shot 38.7% from the floor.
Standing about 6’8”, Jonathan Kuminga has the length and versatility to either play on the wing or in the low-post against smaller defenders and alongside Jalen Green, his teammate on the G-League Ignite, Kuminga may be one of the best pure athletes in this draft class.
With almost a 7-foot wingspan, Jonathan Kuminga has all the tools to be an elite-level two-way player on the wing and with his insane leaping abilities, he is a guy that will put many people on posters at the next level. Offensively, Kuminga looks to use his athleticism and ball-handling skills to drive to the rim and oftentimes does not look to shoot from deep.
Normally, as soon as Kuminga catches the ball, he is looking to attack his opponents and get the ball in the paint, where he shoots the ball at an extremely high percentage. With all the confidence in the world in himself and his athletic abilities, Jonathan Kuminga is the best forward prospect in this year’s draft class and can definitely help a lot of teams in this league.
With all of this said, let’s take a look at the top three landing spots for Jonathan Kuminga in the 2021 NBA Draft.
No. 3. Oklahoma City Thunder
It seems highly likely that the Oklahoma City Thunder will end up with a Top-5 pick in this year’s draft and there is a chance that they could end up with two of them! They hold the rights to the Houston Rockets’ 2021 first-round pick, but it is protected 1-4 in this year’s draft.
Houston currently holds the second-worst record in the league, so it seems likely that they will not be picking outside of the Top-4, meaning that they will wind up keeping their pick, but there is still a chance the Thunder ends up with their pick should it land 5th or 6th overall.
In fact, the Thunder could end up with back-to-back Top-5 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, which would be insane for them given the talent at the top of this draft class. Jonathan Kuminga would be a huge addition for them not only because of the type of athlete he is, but because of the kind of player he can be in their system.
The Thunder are a team that has a ton of young talents, highlighted by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the backcourt. On the wing, they have Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley, who seem to be two core guys they will be building with, but they do not really have a guy like Jonathan Kuminga who can play either forward position and contribute on both ends of the court.
OKC could be a perfect landing spot for the young forward because he would not only be playing with other young talents, but he would be in line for major playing time immediately. Not to mention, he could easily work his way into being one of the top players on this Thunder team from the moment he steps on the court.
The Thunder’s goal right now is to continue drafting high-level, young talents and building their team of the future and with Kuminga having franchise-altering talent, he would be a perfect fit next to SGA for the Thunder to continue building their young core of the future with.
No. 2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Ever since LeBron James left Cleveland for the Lakers in 2018, the Cavaliers have been looking to build their team of the future and they have done a really good job so far.
The Cavaliers have a great, young backcourt duo in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, and after including themselves in the James Harden to the Nets trade back in January, they ended up with a young, dynamic center in Jarrett Allen and a key, versatile forward in Taurean Prince.
Cleveland is not far off from contending for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but they are still missing some talent on the wing. Jarrett Allen, Larry Nance Jr. and veteran Kevin Love make up a really solid frontcourt for the Cavaliers, but rookie Isaac Okoro seems to be this team’s only real option on the wing. Cedi Osman and Dylan Windler have been inconsistent players that do not seem to have a long-term future with this organization, which is why bringing in Jonathan Kuminga with the 5th overall pick would be huge for Cleveland.
With Darius Garland and Collin Sexton being two high-level, athletic talents in the backcourt, Kuminga could compliment these two quite nicely as a versatile combo-forward on the wing for the Cavaliers.
Isaac Okoro has been a great young talent for the Cavaliers this year and will continue to grow into a well-polished wing for them, but passing up on Jonathan Kuminga would be an extremely foolish move. Cleveland will likely be picking anywhere from 4-6 this year and drafting Kuminga in this position would be a no-brainer.
Cleveland has their backcourt figured out, they have some great players in their frontcourt, but they are lacking overall, athletic talent on the wing, which is why Jonathan Kuminga would be a great fit in a Cavaliers uniform.
No. 1. Golden State Warriors
Looking ahead to next season, the Warriors will not only be getting rookie James Wiseman back from his torn meniscus, but they will be getting 5x All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson back. Klay has not played since the 2019 NBA Finals when he tore his ACL because when he was rehabbing this past offseason, he tore his Achilles, resulting in him missing his second consecutive season.
Now, assuming the Warriors will be fully healthy entering next season, they will have Steph, Klay, Draymond, Wiggins and Wiseman, which is why drafting Jonathan Kuminga could immediately put them back in the championship conversation.
Golden State is definitely the best landing spot for Jonathan Kuminga based on fit and the stars they have on their roster that the young forward can learn from, but who knows if the Warriors will even have a chance to draft Kuminga.
The Warriors hold the rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves 2021 1st Round Pick, but this pick is protected Top-3, meaning that the Timberwolves keep this pick should their pick land 1st, 2nd or 3rd overall in the Draft Lottery. Minnesota currently holds the worst record in the league, meaning that they are really sitting on the fence 50-50 on keeping this pick this season.
If the Warriors are able to get Minnesota’s pick, this would be huge for them because they could not only look at drafting Kuminga, but they could look at drafting yet another high-level, franchise altering talent to add to their already championship-caliber core.
Injuries have obviously been Golden State’s worst enemy over the years, but their other weakness is the fact that they need more talent at the forward position. Outside of Andrew Wiggins on the wing, the Warriors do not have much depth and behind Draymond Green, the Warriors do not have much talent.
Jonathan Kuminga could immediately make an impact behind both of these players and given his potential to be a two-way star, he could learn a lot from guys like Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. Golden State is the best landing spot for Jonathan Kuminga, but a lot would need to happen before the draft for him to potentially be a Warrior.