Cavs 2021 NBA Draft: How Jonathan Kuminga would fit in with CLE

G League Ignite wing Jonathan Kuminga drives. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
G League Ignite wing Jonathan Kuminga drives. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
2021 NBA Draft prospect Jonathan Kuminga dunks the ball. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Kuminga’s upside as a franchise-type player for the Cavs

Jonathan Kuminga has the ability to be a franchise-caliber player for the Cavs. In 13 games for the G League Ignite in the league’s Orlando bubble run, he averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and just under a block per game at 0.8, while shooting 24.6 percent from three-point range and 38.7 percent from the field overall.

Now, the shooting splits weren’t great there clearly, but the potential, given his ability to create off-the-bounce and the change-of-pace he showed, to go with his athleticism, were both things that jumped out. The mid-post creation and defense were very promising as well.

Granted, Kuminga wouldn’t be a perfect fit for next season, if you look at the way the roster is currently constructed for Cleveland, at least projecting onward, to an extent. Kuminga right now needs to work on his shot from beyond the arc.

Again he shot sub-25.0 percent from three this year in that G league bubble run. And potentially inserting him into the starting lineup with Isaac Okoro would make the Cavs’ spacing an even bigger problem.

With that said I still think the Cavs are at a point in their rebuild, where they can’t pass up a talent like Kuminga who has an incredibly high upside. Kuminga should still be able to be effective offensively in other areas. Kuminga has a pretty nice handle for a guy his size at a fairly-put together 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, but as a guy that plays far bigger than that.

He could thrive as a driver and finisher as a rookie, especially with his explosive first step when he has made up his mind, and when operating out of the mid-post/at times coming out of dribble handoffs.

In his G League bubble burn, he was able to show that he can create his own shot, also, which was encouraging to see, via pull-ups mostly. He was able to show glimpses of being a three-level scorer, a post-up player, and I thought his secondary playmaking was another key positive. That could aid in taking some pressure off of Darius Garland and/or Collin Sexton, for instance.

His shot from beyond the arc obviously needs work, but Kuminga seemingly just show solid form and release on his shot, so I’d imagine that’s something that can be fixed long-term. Albeit Kuminga for next season would be an odd fit, because of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ perimeter shooting woes and the fact that his shot needs work.

Of the young players on the Cavs roster, the only player right now that I foresee as an All-Star some day is Sexton. And given that, I don’t believe the Cavaliers are at a point where they can  pass on a talent like Kuminga, especially in the aforementioned draft scenario.

You can argue with how things went with Kevin Porter Jr., him being dealt away, all things considered, was a setback in this rebuild, but there were a number of factors that went into that we won’t rehash.

So, if Kuminga is able to fix his shot/become a viable catch-and-shoot player to aid spacing in time, he’s a guy that can be a big-time two-way star in the NBA. His athleticism, strength/quickness and feel for initiating/playing through contact and defensive abilities were on display in that G League bubble run, and throughout his high school/run in the AAU circuit.

Secondly, Cleveland could use another wing, also, of which teams can never have enough in today’s league.