Warriors

Why Kuminga believes Warriors are 'perfect fit' for him

Warriors

The Warriors are in win-now mode. But with the first of their two lottery picks in the 2021 NBA draft -- the No. 7 overall pick -- they selected a player with arguably the rawest talent in the draft class: Jonathan Kuminga. 

But Kuminga also has one of the biggest upsides. And he's confident that Golden State is the correct environment to unlock his game. 

"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."

Just a few months ago, Kuminga was considered to be a consensus top draft prospect, and many thought he would be a top-5 pick. But a subpar showing in the G League bubble in Orlando -- highlighted by inefficient shooting and lax defense -- caused his stock to fall, and when the Warriors saw he was available when they were on the clock, they couldn't pass him up. 

And it's understandable. Kuminga is one of the most athletic players in the draft. He is a good creator and rebounder and has the correct tools to become an elite defender. 

 

"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."

Kuminga says he believes his game will be completely different, and far more refined, in just a matter of months. And a big part of that development will happen in two weeks at Summer League in Las Vegas. 

Warriors general manager Bob Myers also sees Summer League as a crucial learning opportunity and was something James Wiseman -- another Warriors project -- missed out on. 

"That kind of matters," Myers said on Monday ahead of the draft. "It's important to learn our system, and then they go to training camp, and that really matters as a young player."

RELATED: NBA draft grades: Warriors nail Kuminga pick

Chances are, even in a few months, Kuminga will not be NBA-ready. But the Warriors might be OK with that.

They don't see their window as being confined to this one upcoming season and believe Kuminga will help them in the future while other pieces will lead them toward their goal of getting back into the playoffs and winning another ring. 

Every rookie needs a learning curve when they first enter the NBA. And between his rawness and playing in a system such as the Warriors -- which is different from most teams around the league -- Kuminga might need a bigger one. But he's confident that it will all work itself out. 

"I just got to bring it out for every time I get in the game," Kuminga said. "I just got to be the player they need me to be, listen, learn every single day, work hard and I think everything will go well."