Cavs draft: Pros and cons of potential Jonathan Kuminga pick

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) /

With a combination of losing, injuries and drama, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in the same position as the past two years. Pending a drop in the lottery for the 2021 NBA Draft, Cleveland could very well once again be picking in the top five.

As the Cavaliers have moved up in the draft, names like Kai Jones and Jalen Johnson hold less relevance. Granted, with the league’s newish lottery odds, it’s still not a certainty they won’t be in play, though.

That said, it would seem that Cavs general manager Koby Altman and company can laser in on top names such as Jonathan Kuminga. The G-League Ignite product has been well known since before the COVID-19 pandemic and has been living comfortably in the top five of everyone’s mock drafts.

If Kuminga finds himself selected by the Cavs on draft night, here are pros and cons of the 18-year-old wing being picked by them.

We’ll begin with the pros.

Pro #1: Kuminga would bring added size to the Cavs

After two straight years of the Cavaliers taking under talented, but undersized players, Kuminga would be refreshing. 6-foot-8, 220 at the 3 would allow Cleveland to operate differently on both ends of the floor.

In some lineups, we could foresee Kuminga at the 4 as well, and with his strength, he could hold up there in a number of matchups, with say, Isaac Okoro at the 3.

Secondly, his G-League experience should pay off.

Pro #2: Kuminga’s G-League experience should help him/would for the Cavs

It would be bold to say that playing for the G-League Ignite team was better than Kuminga going to college, so I won’t. But this is the first class we’ll get to see from the Ignite team and it seems promising.

Kuminga, who had 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in 15 G-League appearances, and showed great driving ability and promise as a passer, got to play with top talent in Jalen Green and Daishen Nix. He also got run with former pro Jarrett Jack, and three-time NBA champ Bryan Shaw was his head coach.

Time will tell, but it seems Kuminga got one of the first tickets to developmental Disneyland.

Thirdly, Kuminga would be an impact defender for Cleveland if they were to select him in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Pro #3: Kuminga would project as a good defender for the Cavs

The Cavaliers, while injuries haven’t helped, sit at 23rd in defensive rating.

However, Kuminga has been considered by many draft pundits to be realistically the most versatile defender in this class, and could defend in some matchups any position. His 7-foot wingspan should help him contain drivers and deter pull-up threats, and with his quickness even for his build, he could end up being a menace in passing lanes.

Okay, so the two key weaknesses come in relation to scoring, really.

Con #1: Kuminga would not aid the Cavs shooting

Of course Kuminga doesn’t have Ben Simmons-style issues shooting, but there are concerns. Poor shooting numbers, and hitting just 24.6 percent of his three-point attempts with the Ignite is worrisome. The same applies for him having converted on only 62.5 percent of his free throws.

Thankfully for Kuminga, no one in front of him is known for their shooting either. Not being seen as a shooter may allow for Kuminga to grow while utilizing his strengths.

As far as the second key con, it’s in regards to the abilities without the ball.

Con #2: Can Kuminga affect games without the ball in his hands often?

Kuminga did show signs as a cutter, but that’s not necessarily a key strength of his. Also, what could be an issue would be could he affect games and/or be viable in more of an off-ball role?

It’s difficult to foresee that at this point, and with the shooting concerns, can he be impactful if he’s not getting a ton of driving chances? That’s a tough question, given the workloads of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, for example.

Albeit with Kuminga, he is a high-end athlete and with his quickness and post-up capabilities too, and him showing the ability to change speeds, combined with his defense, he could have star potential. His handle is a positive as well.

In any case, a match between Kuminga and Cleveland will obviously depend on lottery night. Even with a fall to five again, the Cavaliers would be elated to get a player like Kuminga, who is again just 18 still.

Next. 3 potential career outcomes for Jalen Green with Cavs. dark

The 2021 NBA Draft class is loaded and Kuminga has been a named attached to it from day one.