Cavs 2021 NBA Draft: 3 ways Jonathan Kuminga could help CLE

2021 NBA Draft prospect Jonathan Kuminga handles the ball. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
2021 NBA Draft prospect Jonathan Kuminga handles the ball. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love and Cleveland guard Collin Sexton talk in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The #2 way Kuminga could help the Cavs: Defense

Kuminga’s defensive potential is sky-high. There is no doubt that that should catch the interest of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is no secret that the Cavaliers have been bad defensively in recent years. Last season, the Cavaliers boasted a 114.8 defensive rating, which again, was the worst in the NBA.

The defense is a big issue for the Cavaliers. That is why the Cavs picked Isaac Okoro with the fifth pick in the 2020 draft. Okoro was a defensive-minded forward out of Auburn and despite some of his offensive limitations, Altman and company seemingly felt that his defensive talents would be worth the selection.

The Cavaliers terrible defense needs help and Jonathan Kuminga could definitely provide help on that end of the floor. Kuminga has a combination of athleticism and length which sets his defensive ceiling high. His 6-foot-11 wingspan would allow him to stay in front of his opponent and gather up steals and rebounds.

And, adding upon his positional versatility, Kuminga can guard multiple positions. Kuminga’s ability to play as a small forward, power forward or shooting guard would allow him to share the floor with Okoro, which would likely prove to be a pretty nasty defensive duo.

Effort always varies when it comes to young players. But there is no questioning the defensive potential of Kuminga. His G-League teammate Reggie Hearn even compared Kuminga to L.A. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, as transcribed by’s Kyle Irving. Leonard of course won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015, and 2016.

Comparing Kuminga to a two-time Defensive Player of the Year is pretty bold, but the defensive potential is there, and it is not something that the Cavaliers can ignore.

Albeit, Hearn’s Leonard comparison for Kuminga had to do with his all-around scoring abilities on the other end, as Irving hit on. The defensive ceiling for Kuminga, still, though, is again, sky-high.