In this series, I will be looking at some of the top prospects for the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft. I will also be posting draft rankings eventually. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always enjoy talking basketball.
- Position: SF/PF
- Height: 6'8"
- Weight: 205
- Team: G-League
- Year: N/A
- Wingspan: 6'11"
- Stats: 3 Games, 22 PPG, 7 RPG, 3 APG, 45.7 % FG, 4–14 3PT%, 15–22 % FT, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 3.3 TOPG.
One of the handful prospects to bypass the college game for the professional ranks, Congolese forward Jonathan Kuminga is one of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. Alongside fellow draft prospect Jalen Green, Kuminga will be must-see basketball out of the G-League moving forward.
Kuminga’s athleticism is already off the charts. He plays above the rim with ease and has elite-level bounce. He plays explosively and has terrific lateral movement and speed. The fact that he has this athleticism and can control his body effectively when attacking the basket makes him difficult to guard off the dribble.
Kuminga projects as a high-level finisher due to his athleticism and strength. He is one of the strongest wing prospects in the last few years and will give smaller forwards and guards trouble off the dribble. In just three G-League games he’s already shown the ability to finish over taller and bigger players at the rim. He’s also shown great patience and comfort playing back-to-the-basket out of the post.
As shown in the clips above, Kuminga is NBA ready from a physical standpoint. He will be especially dangerous in the open floor, but has shown the ability to create offense in half court sets. He can bully players in the post, finish with either hand at the rim, and isn’t deterred by contact.
His ball handling ability is not advanced, but he’s made good progression in recent years as the game appears to be slowing down for him. He is capable of making reads and initiating an offense in both transition and half court sets. He can change direction with the ball fairly easily and has a quick crossover.
While his consistency can improve, he has shown the ability to knock down shots from the outside and hit jumpers off the dribble. If his shooting percentages continue to improve, defenders won’t be able to sag off which opens up Kuminga’s dribble drive game.
His strength and length give him the tools to be an effective defender. He is a solid defender and rebounder when engaged and does a good job of timing up blocks. If he sharpens his focus defensively, he can be elite on that end of the court.
Over the last year, Kuminga has showed a much better feel for the game and is gradually improving his skillset. He’s becoming more confident by the game and plays aggressively. He already has terrific natural talent and is showing good development with every game.
One area of Kuminga’s game that he can work on is his shot selection. He tends to force the issue offensively at times and will take some bad contested shots. Kuminga is a high-volume scorer (averaging 15.3 shots a game in the G-League), and while he’s still fairly efficient, his outside shot is not at the level to where he can afford to take tough looks frequently.
Kuminga has never been a great percentage shooter, and that will be something to watch out for moving forward. He’s just 4 of 14 from deep so far in the G-League and has had a few concerning misses on open looks. He seems to shoot it better when he slows down his mechanics.
“(Kuminga) Can improve consistency as a 3PT shooter. Shot 29.8% 3PT% at 7.8 attempts per game over the Nike EYBL in 2019 … Can improve as a free throw shooter. Shot 55.2% FT% over the Nike EYBL in 2018 and 62.7% FT% in 2019.”
Kuminga can disappear at times from the game on both ends. He’s done a pretty good job of cutting when he doesn’t have the ball and working to get himself or teammates open. He’ll still have occasional lapses though.
Given his height, athleticism and strength, he should be hauling in more rebounds a game as well. He was never an elite rebounder in his prep days, but seems more engaged with crashing the glass in the G-League thus far. Like many young players, he can get caught ball-watching frequently and can lack the commitment and discipline defensively and on the glass.
As previously stated, Kuminga can try to do too much at times and over-dribble, which results in an abundance of turnovers. He’s averaging over 3 giveaways a game in three G-League games thus far and still has some polishing to do from an offensive skills standpoint.
While he still has plenty to work on and is still a fairly raw prospect, Kuminga has the foundation in place to be an elite 3-and-D wing at the next level.
He is more than ready for the physicality and speed of the NBA already has made great strides with regards to his skills and assets. He promises to be an effective scorer at all three levels and has a bevy of upside. His shot selection is still a work in progress, and he’d benefit from not trying to do too much more often. Still, he is a top-five prospect in this class with immense potential on both ends of the floor.