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Warriors go upside, draft Jonathan Kuminga with 7th pick

Wes Goldberg, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

With the seventh pick in Thursday’s draft, the Warriors selected Jonathan Kuminga, a physically gifted forward who played last season for the G League Ignite.

The 18-year-old Kuminga averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists playing in Walnut Creek, Calif., as part of the G League Ignite program, a first-of-its-kind developmental team that mixed top college-aged prospects (including No. 2 pick Jalen Green) with seasoned professionals such as Jarrett Jack.

Once considered an option to be selected first in this draft, Kuminga offered the most upside of anyone left on the board and joins second-year center James Wiseman as potential future building blocks for when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green age out of their primes. The former five-star recruit had his name called while in the draft green room at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

While Kuminga is a tantalizing athlete with a rare blend of size, strength and go-to scoring potential, Golden State will need to coax more consistent shooting and defense from the 6-foot-8 Congo native and be patient as he learns to play within the flow of an NBA offense.

Ultimately, Kuminga’s potential was too much for Golden State to turn down. With each of the core stars beyond 30 years old, the front office jumped on a chance to land a future All-Star in a part of the draft it does not intend on picking from again in the foreseeable future. Kuminga also has theoretical value in a trade should the front office want to put a package together for a star.

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