Cavs draft: Should Jonathan Kuminga start from jump if CLE 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) /
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Jonathan Kuminga, Cleveland Cavaliers
G League Ignite wing/forward Jonathan Kuminga looks to finish on the interior. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Later on, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Kuminga did start for the Cavs, though

Now, while Kuminga does need to come along as a shooter and I’d prefer him to be brought along more gradually with his role and ease into things, it would not be shocking to see him have a starting role regularly. I’d say, 1/3 to 1/2 way into his Year 1 that could be the case if he were to end up being drafted by Cleveland.

If Kuminga is able to provide productive minutes in the team sense on the defensive end, that’d prove to be him maximizing his defensive abilities, too.

The on-ball defensive feel and traits are there for Kuminga to legitimately be a stopper with 1-4 viability in that regard with his length, ability to smother drivers and with him having impressive fluidity for a player his size.

Along with that, Kuminga’s rebounding for a wing/combo forward is a strength of his, and he could aid Cleveland in that way.

Circling back however, the G League Ignite product is still just 18 currently, needs to further progress as a shooter and I’d prefer to see start as a key bench contributor for him to be more eased into things.

In that way, he could also be more of an on-ball offensive focal point when he is in there, and could still end up playing near half of games, either at the 3 or 4 spots, and in some jumbo lineups, could maybe play as a de facto 2.

And again, with Kuminga’s potential, he could be a big-time two-way player in this league, and if he can prove to be a viable catch-and-shoot threat, and make more headway as a team defender, he could be a franchise-type player. I’m not saying at all that he can’t be.

But if the Cavaliers were to select him in the 2021 NBA Draft, given that there’d be plenty of youth with him anyway, and with Okoro, most notably, showing legitimate offensive progression as the season progressed, even in a condensed schedule, I wouldn’t expect Kuminga to start from the jump.

Perhaps he could end up taking over at the 3 for Cleveland over Okoro, and Isaac could be from there still a key bench piece as the season progresses. And as a side note, Cedi Osman and Taurean Prince could factor into things too, regarding possible minutes-share/lineups, although they have both been previously mentioned in trade rumors, so we’d have to see.

Or to the earlier point, perhaps Kuminga could even be a regular 4 man starter, and Kevin Love could buy into a lesser role, and/or Nance could play more at the 5, or even play his share as a jumbo 3? Let’s not forget about Dean Wade, either.

Anyway, from my perspective, if the Cavs end up drafting Kuminga come late July, while he absolutely has big-time potential on both ends of the floor, I’d still prefer to see him start his rookie season as a bench contributor for the reasons stated.

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That’s not to say that the potential still could be sky-high for him, and that he could seemingly very well be a starter some into the season.