Warriors

Report: Kuminga could fall to Warriors; Is he worth the wait?

Warriors

Leading up to the NBA draft lottery last month, the 2021 class of prospects widely was considered five players deep.

Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs and Jonathan Kuminga had been seen as the best five players in the 2021 draft class, but that appears to be changing.

The first four names appear to be locked in, in some order, while Kuminga might be falling behind a few other prospects.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported Friday, citing league sources, that the Orlando Magic are "high" on Florida State's Scottie Barnes with the No. 5 overall draft pick and the Oklahoma City Thunder "prefer" Barnes or Connecticut's James Bouknight at No. 6 overall.

If that scenario plays out, and the Warriors hold on to the No. 7 overall pick, Kuminga could be there for the taking.

In James Ham's latest mock draft for NBC Sports Bay Area, he also has Kuminga going to the Warriors at No. 7, calling it a "dream come true" for Golden State.

But as O'Connor and Ham both point out, while Kuminga's talent would appeal to the Warriors, his timeline might present a problem.

The 6-foot-6 forward skipped college to play for the G League Ignite this past season, and the 18-year-old held his own against older competition. In 13 games, he averaged 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game. He shot 38.7 percent from the field and just 24.6 percent from 3-point range.

 

Kuminga's talents are tantalizing, but can the Warriors afford to wait for him to develop, considering they have aspirations of winning an NBA championship during the 2021-22 NBA season? O'Connor doesn't think so.

"Kuminga is a high-upside prospect—an elite 6-foot-6 athlete who flashes advanced shot-creation abilities," O'Connor wrote. "But he’s a raw shooter and a ball stopper who needs to be better at playing within the offense. Still, teams willing to take a risk could be rewarded down the line if he’s able to refine those skills. At his size, with his fluidity and moments of brilliance, the wait could be worth it.

"Golden State doesn’t have much time, though. With Stephen Curry and Draymond Green welcoming the return of Klay Thompson, the Warriors are gearing up to pursue another championship. League sources say Golden State is exploring all opportunities to trade out of the draft entirely for veterans."

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In addition to the No. 7 overall pick, the Warriors also hold the No. 14 overall pick, and they could look to package both selections as part of a bigger blockbuster deal to bring an established NBA player who can help them meet their goals faster.

With the July 29 NBA draft quickly approaching, the Warriors have a lot of decisions to make.