Why Festus Ezeli likes Kawhi Leonard comparison for Jonathan Kuminga

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Why Ezeli likes Kawhi comparison for Warriors rookie Kuminga originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Jonathan Kuminga has taken giant leaps so far in his rookie season, suddenly emerging as an offensive and defensive weapon off the bench for the Warriors.

The 19-year-old was not expected to contribute to a title-contending team this early in his career, and yet his emerging dominance is making it hard to keep him out of the rotation.
 
As Kuminga grows his game, the expectations and hopes for his future grow with it. He has mature strength for his age, and his athleticism and leaping ability are extraordinary for his size.
 
Finding a current NBA player who Kuminga's ceiling could resemble is a difficult task. But back in November, head coach Steve Kerr made a lofty comparison for the teenager.
 
"I think about Kawhi Leonard a lot," Kerr said. "I think that's a good comp, in regards to size and strength. I've watched a lot of Kawhi his rookie year and look back at San Antonio's circumstances then. Kawhi was working with Manu (Ginobili), (Tim Duncan) and Tony Parker so he was a fourth or fifth option. I think he played 24 minutes a night, scored 10 points, and played defense and that was the foundation of what he's become. So it's a good comp."
 
Leonard, when healthy, is one of the best two-way players in the NBA, and a legitimate MVP candidate each season. Rather than using overwhelming athleticism, Leonard uses his incredible length and strength, as well as methodical and precise mechanics to dominate opponents on both ends of the floor.

RELATED: Klay and Wiggins' improving chemistry gives Warriors new trio

Former Warriors big man Festus Ezeli made an attempt to think of a comparison for Kuminga on the latest episode of the Dubs Talk podcast, but could not quite find the right answer.
 
So how about Leonard?
 
"That is good company right there," Ezeli said while chuckling after hearing Kerr's comparison.
 
"Kuminga has the ability to guard multiple positions, and that is what his biggest asset is," Ezeli said. "And coming in, I did not expect that. Because what I saw was a lot of his athletic ability, so I was thinking about the offensive end, like him running the floor, and him being able to catch lobs and do all these things. And then being pleasantly surprised by his ball-handling skills as well.
 
"I can see it because remember, Kawhi Leonard came into the NBA as a four-man, and then he developed all these skills," Ezeli continued. "Sometimes you just don't know how a player is going to develop, and the things they are going to add to their game.
 
"So I can definitely see him having that type of trajectory."

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