Jonathan Kuminga
(Sophie Sargent / Vendetta Sports Media)

Jonathan Kuminga comes into the 2021 NBA Draft after being one of the inaugural members of the NBA G League Ignite team, which provides an alternative to college basketball for young prospects. At the time he committed to the G League, Kuminga was the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2021 high school class. Following reclassification, he became the No. 4 prospect in the 2020 class.

  • Height/Weight: 6’7″/210 pounds
  • Position: Forward
  • G League Stats: 13 Games, 15.8 PPG, 2.7 APG, 7.2 RPG, 38.7% FG, 24.6% 3PT, 62.5% FT, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 2.6 TOPG

Strengths: Athleticism, Rebounding, Post Scoring

One thing that’s immediately obvious about Jonathan Kuminga is that he’s a freak athlete. He’s fast, strong, agile, and can jump out of the gym. His athleticism makes him a matchup problem for opposing defenders because he’s big enough and fast enough to blow by most of them and get to the rim.

Kuminga’s athleticism also allows him to keep up with most players on defense. He’s displayed shot-blocking ability since his high school days.

Another major strength of his game is that he is a capable and willing rebounder. Kuminga has no problem using his size to be active on the boards, and he averaged over seven rebounds per game last season. He is also skilled as a post scorer, using his frame and agility to make things happen with his back to the rim. Kuminga has a pretty decent touch at the basket, but it could be a little better.

Weaknesses: 3PT Shot, Shot Selection, Defensive Effort

Kuminga’s shooting percentages jump off the page, but unfortunately not in a good way. At all three levels, he was below average. He’s never been that great of a shooter, so there’s nothing to suggest that his shooting in the G League was just an aberration. Most scouts are pretty confident that Kuminga can develop a respectable jump shot, but this is still a concern entering the draft.

A probable reason Kuminga’s shooting splits are so poor is that his shot selection also isn’t very good. At times, he forces shots outside of the flow of the offense just for the sake of getting shots up. His tunnel vision on offense also affects his ability to make plays because he sometimes just won’t see wide-open teammates.

There’s a lot of tape out there to suggest that Kuminga could be an impactful defensive player at the NBA level. The problem is his effort isn’t always there on that end. If he applies himself on defense, he’ll be pretty scary, but he’s prone to just completely ignore help defense, resulting in stuff like this:

Again, Kuminga has all the tools to be an awesome defender, but he needs to be a little more consistent on that end rather than only showing flashes of defensive ability.

Best NBA Fit: Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kuminga will likely need some time to adapt to the NBA once he’s drafted, and the best way to expedite this process is being drafted by a team where he can play significant minutes right away. The Thunder, Magic, and Cavaliers all have pretty glaring needs at small forward that need to be filled. Coincidentally, they all are projected to have a pick right around the range Kuminga is likely to be selected. A team that can provide immediate minutes as well as the opportunity to grow alongside other young pieces would be the best fit for Kuminga and give him the best chance at reaching his full potential.

NBA Comparison: OG Anunoby with a Higher Ceiling

Kuminga, like OG Anunoby, is a lengthy wing who presents clear defensive value but doesn’t have a super refined offensive game. The big difference is that Kuminga has much higher star potential than Anunoby did coming out of Indiana. Some of that is tied to his higher level of athleticism and rebounding, and some is tied to great optimism that Kuminga’s offensive potential is right around the corner. This is probably a pretty fair comp considering the increasing doubt that Kuminga will ever hit his ceiling. However, his floor is likely something a little better than what Anunoby is right now, which is still a solid player.

Draft Projection: Potential Top 5 Pick, Likely Top 10 Pick

My first 2021 NBA Mock Draft has Jonathan Kuminga taken No. 5 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder. There have been some rumblings that Kuminga may not be a lock for the top five due to how unrefined he is. If any of the top five projected picks (Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga) slip in the draft, it will be Kuminga. His insane upside should keep him in the top ten, and chances are still really good that he goes in the top five.


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