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Spears confident 'special' Kuminga has All-Star potential originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When Jonathan Kuminga was still on the board on draft night when the Warriors went on the clock at No. 7, Golden State knew it couldn't pass him up.
Kuminga once was considered to be a top-three pick, and though his stock dropped after the G League bubble, the upside still was there. If anything, his upside is higher than ever before following a strong showing in Summer League.
The Undefeated's Marc Spears surely thinks so.
"From what I saw from Kuminga, I think he, in time, will be an All-Star player," Spears told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kendra Andrews and Grant Liffmann on the Dubs Talk podcast. "He seems special."
During Summer League in August, it wasn't so much Kuminga's athleticism that caught people's eyes. Everyone already knew about that. But it was his understanding of the game and how to use his body to his advantage that impressed.
His IQ didn't match the "completely raw player" he was categorized as.
According to Spears, this shouldn't be surprising. It's the effect spending a year with the G League Ignite had on Kuminga.
"Kuminga has essentially played in the NBA already," Spears said. "He's a teenager still. this kid -- that's one thing the elite of the elite will learn from playing in the G League. For Kuminga and Jalen Green, they already know what it's like to play in the NBA. They understand the verbiage, the speed, they played against NBA-caliber players. The only thing they didn't get with playing the G league Ignite was the pageantry that comes with playing college basketball."
It's not likely Kuminga will be a game-changer for the Warriors this season. But no rookie, no matter who they drafted, would be. So, this season will be all about development and adding to Kuminga's arsenal.
Golden State wants to see Kuminga continue to improve his basketball IQ, while also becoming a more versatile defender. A key for Kuminga to get more playing time will be for him to be a jack-of-all-trades player, who can play and defend multiple positions and be inserted into an array of lineups.
The Warriors have made an investment in player development coaches, signaling their commitment to help Kuminga -- in addition to other young players such as James Wiseman and Moses Moody -- grow. But it's also about finding the right players to mentor him.
"[Andre] Iguodala's locker needs to be next to his," Spears said. "You need that kind of mentoring around him. And he has time to do it. Steph, Klay, Draymond, they don't have time. Iguodala, he has the time and he would do a great job at it."
If the Warriors put the right pieces around Kuminga, and he keeps showing the willingness to learn and grow, there is no reason to put a cap on his ceiling.
As Spears laid out: "That kid's going to be special in time."