Cavs Draft: 2 realistic expectations for 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) /

18-year-old Jonathan Kuminga looks to be in the mix to be a top five pick in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft, and while it wouldn’t appear as likely he could be for the Cleveland Cavaliers, at #3, he is reportedly still in the mix for now.

Now, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs still would seem to be more likely to be picks for Cleveland, in the event they keep their pick, which appears realistic. But Kuminga is a player that could have superstar potential, and with that being the case, perhaps he could be in play for Cleveland.

The 6-foot-6 wing was stellar during his time at the Patrick High School in New Jersey, for one, and so much so that it allowed him to forego college, rather playing for the G League Ignite after offers from highly prestigious schools such as Duke and Kentucky.

Though he didn’t reach the level of hype to the extent that other highly touted G league Ignite prospect Jalen Green has, Kuminga flashed an elite level potential under head coach Brian Shaw. Kuminga could be a big-time offensive threat at the NBA level.

So if he does end up being drafted #3 overall by the Cavs or via potential trade down, there are a few things we can expect from him early on.

The first is that he could show the potential to be a primary scorer down the road.

#1: Kuminga shows primary scoring potential for the Cavs

If taken by the Cavs in the 2021 NBA Draft, Kuminga could provide another on-ball presence to go with Cleveland’s backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. The jump shooting appears to be a question mark early though, as Kuminga did average 15.8 points per game but only hit 24.6 percent of his three-point attempts and shot 38.7 percent overall.

Albeit taking a deeper look you can see that Kuminga only got better as a scoring option as the season went on, and his form does look fluid.

And on the plus side, early on, the solid 210-pound Congolese wing can still utilize his strength to get downhill, where he can finish both with body control and power, and he has a tight handle to generate space.

So, although the shot does need to improve, with Kuminga’s strength, handle and feel for generating space easily, if he can knock down more of his perimeter shots/pull-ups, he could show the potential with his athleticism to be a primary scorer down the road for Cleveland. In a wing-centric league, that’d be a welcome sight too.

Plus, with Sexton trade rumors, that could perhaps play out in the near future, if the Cavs were to end up going with Kuminga.

As far as realistic expectation #2, we’ll touch on his defense.

#2: Kuminga shows defensive versatility for the Cavs

Along with his growth hopefully as a scorer, Kuminga could be a great defender in the near future.

And in particular, the defensive versatility, and feasibly being able to defend 2-4 against a number of matchups, with his 6-foot-11 wingspan, could play out even early on. Kuminga’s strength but also fluidity helps him close off driving lanes, and his length makes a difference against shooters on-ball.

From there, while his feel as a rotator to shooters does need to improve it seems, and being so young plays into that, he is a good rebounder (7.2 boards per game in the G League bubble) and his rotational shot blocking could translate. He had a nice 2.4 percent block rate with the Ignite in his 13 games active, and even on-ball, his length can allow him to recover to drivers.

Next. Cavs 2021 NBA Draft: Debating between Green and Suggs. dark

Moreover, while it doesn’t appear as likely that they end up selecting him in the 2021 NBA Draft over Green, Mobley or Suggs, perhaps the Cavs could eventually go with Kuminga’s sky high two-way upside on the wing.