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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Jonathan Kuminga, Cleveland Cavaliers
G League Ignite wing Jonathan Kuminga looks to finish on the interior. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Cavs would add another wing, and one that could very well impact games in a number of ways

Even with the drafting of Okoro last year, the Cavs could still use another wing. Defensively even for his age, Kuminga should be able to really help the Wine and Gold defensively next year. Kuminga is an elite-level athlete and has good length with a 6-foot-11 wingspan.

Again, Kuminga is long, a special athlete, has impressive instincts with him playing the passing lanes well and is technically sound on defense. He’s quick enough to guard plenty of point guards if needed in some matchups and/or in switchout situations, and is versatile enough to often guard 1-4, with his strength/fluidity/sense of positioning using angles.

And while I do like what Okoro has shown, and understand the circumstances this season were really tough, Kuminga has a significantly higher ceiling. If he is able to fix his shot, he’s someone that can be a legitimate two-way star in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ defense has improved from last season, but even with that, they could still use another wing like Kuminga.

Okoro is seemingly part of the reason why Cleveland’s defense has improved, albeit Larry Nance Jr. is plenty of that, and Jarrett Allen looks to be a highly capable rim protector, looking at the near future, assuming he’s eventually locked up long term. And circling back, a lot of nights, Okoro’s taken on the opposing team’s best offensive player, and held his own pretty well.

With that, still, the Cavaliers need another wing and adding another one, but with a player like Kuminga, would help immensely, from my perspective. The Cavs the last several years have struggled defensively and the lack of capable wings in that way is one of the reasons for that. But the drafting of Kuminga could have the Cavs set at the 3, in regards to the wing defensive realm, potentially for a long time.

It’s tough to say for now if the Garland/Sexton backcourt will work long-term, albeit it’s still early to make a for sure decision on that. If you’re going to have two 6-foot-1 guards in the backcourt surrounding them with two high-level defensive wings would go a long way to helping that work, well in varying lineups, projecting onward throughout games it could seem.

I’d imagine Nance, or if he’s still around, or at least if he is able to be healthier/around next season, Kevin Love at the 4, would be starting with Kuminga at the 3, though.

But no matter if/how much Okoro and Kuminga could potentially play together in spurts/stretches, both need to improve as perimeter shooters, clearly.

The biggest seller for Kuminga is the two-way potential, both in lineup combinations at the 3/4, that he offers. Kuminga offensively could still help the Cavs with his ability as a driver/finisher, post-up guy, and he has good playmaking skills/change of pace feel.

Although to reiterate, the biggest issue with Cleveland potentially selecting Kuminga in the 2021 NBA Draft for next year, in this sense, is the Cavs’ shooting woes. The Cavs need more shooting and adding Kuminga for next season wouldn’t help that.

In time, though, if Kuminga is able to fix his perimeter shot, I think he can be a bonafide star wing in the NBA on both ends, and turn out to be the second-best player in this class behind Cade.

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To drive it home for the short term, though, Kuminga for next season wouldn’t likely be a great fit with how the Cavs roster is currently constructed. But with where the Cavs are in this rebuild, you have to take someone that is as talented as Kuminga and offers his upside a star two-way wing, feasibly at say, #3, or perhaps even #2.