Warriors

How Kuminga's workout showed Warriors he would be right fit

Warriors
Jonathan Kuminga

Jonathan Kuminga wasn't expected to be available when the Warriors went on the clock with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

But the 18-year-old slid down the board after the Toronto Raptors took Scottie Barnes, Orlando Magic grabbed Jalen Suggs and the Oklahoma City Thunder pounced on Josh Giddey. With Kuminga on the board, the Warriors took a swing on arguably the highest-upside prospect in the class.

While the Warriors didn't anticipate Kuminga falling to No. 7, they still flew to Miami to put the versatile wing through a pre-draft workout where he really impressed Golden State.

"The idea was that we better go do this just in case he's there," president of basketball operations Bob Myers told reporters Thursday.

"We were thinking he wouldn't be, but a lot of us went to Miami. ... We even brought Kenny Atkinson, one of our new coaches, with us. So he even got on the floor with him. It was nice to have a guy like that because Steve [Kerr] couldn't be here to get on the floor with him. Because Kenny has a great background in player development.

"We said, 'What do you want to see out of him?' He said, 'I want to see how he reacts to pressure. I want to see how he protects the rim.' So he put him through a couple drills and Kenny said, 'I'd like you to do this.' He handled them well, was conversive, he worked hard. It was a long workout, he didn't really break."

 

Myers also loved how Kuminga handled himself after the workout.

"I'm always impressed when a player will come to dinner by himself," Myers said. "And it's hard for an 18-year-old to sit there and answer questions from an NBA owner, GM, scouts. He handled himself really well. He was talking about his parents coming to town, he was excited. Hadn't seen his parents in five years. So we got to kind of talk to him about growing up in Africa, how many languages he speaks. He speaks four. ... Just his nature. We asked him who he admired, who he wanted to be. He's a really nice kid.

"The whole package was nice."

RELATED: Warriors nail Kuminga pick

By drafting Kuminga at No. 7 and Moses Moody at No. 14, the Warriors focused on the future in the draft. But Kuminga is confident that being around Steph Curry and the Warriors' championship core will allow him to elevate his game quickly and ahead of his perceived schedule.

"As long as I grow around Steph Curry, Klay [Thompson], Draymond Green, I feel like my game is going to go from the bottom to the top in a couple months," Kuminga said after he was drafted.

"As I get along and get used to them people, because they're going to always push me, they're always going to put me in the right situation, and I feel like no matter where we end up, we're ready to compete and win a championship."

Kuminga knows he was drafted into an ideal situation where the Warriors won't ask too much of him right away. That being said, he wants to do whatever he can to help the Warriors hang another banner.

"Golden State is just a team -- it's a good team and just me being selected at Golden State, I feel like it's the perfect fit for me and I'm really excited to be a part of it," Kuminga said.

"I'm already prepared, because I'm not going to be, I'm not going to be the 'man' of the team, but at the end of the day I'm going to be one of the players on the team that's going to help the team to win."

The Warriors were surprised to see Kuminga, a player with incredible talent and upside, fall to them at No. 7. They snatched him up without hesitation believing in what he can become. Now, it's time for the 18-year-old to get to work to reach his lofty potential.

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