Warriors coach Weems breaks down Kuminga's potential role originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The modern NBA is built around athletic wings, so it was no surprise that the Warriors saw the sky-high potential of this year's No. 7 overall draft pick Jonathan Kuminga.
But with Andrew Wiggins locked into the small forward position, and new additions such as Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala on board, it might be hard for the very raw Kuminga to crack much of the Warriors' rotation early in the season.
What could help Kuminga find more playing time, however, would be the ability to play multiple positions and provide depth in different roles. During Summer League, the Warriors experimented with the 6-foot-8 wing playing small-ball center, as they hoped to see if the powerfully built rookie's physique and athleticism can handle the rigors of defending the post.
Kris Weems, formerly the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors and now recently promoted to the Golden State's Player Development coaching ranks, broke down the plan for Kuminga.
"When you are going to draft a kid that size, and knowing that long term he is going to be bigger and stronger, he may grow a couple inches taller, his versatility because of his size gives him a chance to stay on the floor longer," Weems said on the Dubs Talk Podcast, taped back in August during the Las Vegas Summer League.
"And so we did talk about him playing a little bit of [center], we still want him to play on the wing and play the three and four for the most part. And work on his ball-handling and his passing. But you can be effective as a five, I mean, Draymond Green is a Hall of Famer because he does a lot of the things that Jonathan does.
"We will be very specific about those times that we can run packages of plays we can put in there, but the versatility on defense is what really sets him apart," Weems said.
The big question, of course, is whether or not Kuminga is too raw and unpolished to contribute immediately in the NBA. Weems hesitates from putting that label on Kuminga.
"I don't think he is too raw," Weems said.
"I think if anything, you add to what he already brings to the table like his physicality and his athleticism. Now we just need to raise his level of basketball IQ, and he's already a smart player. To get stuff done as an 18-year-old, basically a high school player playing against pros, you just don't do that and not know what you're doing."
So what can Kuminga do now, and what is the development plan for the future?
"Right now, the versatility on defense like I brought up before, the ability to rebound against bigger, stronger guys, and then just figuring out a way to handle the ball better and be able to create for others and shoot the ball better," Weems explained.
"Like, he's got the foundation built, it's just a matter of putting those fine touches on things."