At 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Jonathan Kuminga has all the physical tools to be an NBA star. He’s long and versatile, and at just 18 years old, there’s really no reason to think he can’t develop into one of if not the best players in the 2021 NBA Draft class. He is, as his former G League Ignite teammate Daishen Nix said, an 18-year-old in a grown man’s body, and if the Toronto Raptors are going to select the best player available at No. 4, there’s an argument to be made that Kuminga is that player.
Right now, Kuminga is too raw to be considered a Day 1 difference-maker. He shot just 38.7% from the floor and 24.6% from behind the arc with almost as many turnovers as assists in his 13 games with the Ignite last year. It was somewhat of a disappointing showing for a player once considered among the very top tier of this year’s draft class. But it’s hard not to look at Kuminga, one of the youngest players in the draft, and get excited about what could be.
“Kuminga’s combination of improving skills and athletic gifts still set him apart from the vast majority of his peers, and if he shoots it better and becomes a more disciplined defender, there’s real ceiling,” Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo wrote. “That said, he remains somewhat wild and unpolished as a decision-maker and it may be an uphill climb toward optimal efficiency as a scorer.”
He’s an exciting prospect, Kuminga’s Ignite teammate Isaiah Todd said. The kind of player who, in the right system like Toronto’s, could really click. He’s a player in the same vein as Jaylen Brown or a taller DeMar DeRozan, according to ESPN, or Danny Granger, Luol Deng, and Jeff Green, according to The Ringer.
“Just being able to watch him night in and night out hustling. Proud to call him my brother,” Todd said. “I think he’s a tremendous player.”
Kuminga seems a little bit like a wild card in this year’s draft. It’s entirely possible that someone sees his potential and nabs him early. He’s versatile and should be able to develop into a very solid offensive weapon. But at the same time, there are real concerns about just how raw he is. While Toronto would be a great fit for his development, the Raptors might be better off going with someone a little bit more certain at the top end of the draft.