Houston Rockets NBA Draft: Jonathan Kuminga's strengths and weaknesses
There was a time when scouts thought Jonathan Kuminga would be the first overall pick. If the NBA had a secret laboratory where they engineered wing players, Kuminga would be their masterpiece.
Kuminga, born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, didn't come to the US until he was 14, played at four different high schools, and won't turn 19 until October. There are a lot of late bloomer traits here and Kuminga was good enough to hold his own in the NBA G-League.
Strengths: Athleticism, size, shot creation, finishing, defensive potential
The first thing that stands out about Kuminga is his athleticism. It almost seems unfair for someone that large to move with such grace and explosiveness. Listed at 6'8 and 210 pounds Kuminga has the potential to defend one through five comfortably.
His physical traits allow him to create his own shot and finish at the rim with ease. Kuminga should be able to get the shots he wants from day one, which means he has the ability to one day be a go-to scorer.
Weaknesses: Shooting, defensive intensity
The two things that could end up holding Kuminga back are his jump shot and defensive intensity. While Kuminga has the ability to be an awesome defender, he hasn't shown enough consistency on that end yet to be confident he'll ever reach his potential.
Shooting has become the most important skill in the NBA and not having a reliable jumper can derail even the most talented players. The list of elite NBA players without a jump shot is short and requires a player to be special in other areas of the game. Kuminga's jump shot was not reliable in the G-League but with all of his other gifts, he only needs to be an average shooter to be a star.
Should the Houston Rockets trade back in the NBA draft and take Jonathan Kuminga?
Unlike with Keon Johnson, this isn't a hard no. If the Magic offered the fifth pick, the eighth pick, and a future first-round pick the Rockets would have to think long and hard about that offer. At the end of the day, the top of this draft has so much star potential that settling for Kuminga just wouldn't be worth it.