The Golden State Warriors have now played four games in the 2021 Summer League, posting a 2-2 record after a one-point overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Undoubtedly, the most exciting aspect for Warriors fans has been the play of number seven overall pick Jonathan Kuminga. Without Moses Moody (chest contusion) and Gary Payton II (rest), Kuminga led the team with 17 points, eight rebounds, and four assists against the Pelicans.
But although Kuminga has provided a new highlight and a lasting impression each game, his flashes must also leave a nagging disappointment in the back of fans’ minds.
Whilst Jonathan Kuminga may be the shiny new toy within the Warriors franchise, James Wiseman continues to miss time rehabilitating his knee injury.
The number two overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft has endured an up-and-down start to his NBA career. A torn meniscus not only brought a premature end to his rookie season, it’s also prevented him from gaining valuable minutes and experience within the Summer League setup.
So despite being able to relish in the new sensation that is Kuminga, Golden State Warriors fans and those within the organization must be asking ‘what if’ in regard to their other young prized asset.
Although there are question marks on how Kuminga’s game may translate to the NBA level during his rookie season, at least there are recent on-court performances that can help guide some sort of indication.
In Wiseman’s case, the Warriors are hoping more than anything that he can provide greater contribution next season, rather than having the sense of surety that Summer League could have provided.
We’ve seen how Kuminga has been able to dominate in the paint, using his strength and athleticism to overpower opponents. It begs the question, what could a 7-foot James Wiseman produce with similarly freakish athletic traits.
There’s little doubt that Wiseman could have dominated, perhaps even more than Kuminga has, during these games.
It’s not just the near future that Wiseman’s absence is raising questions about, it’s also had Warriors fans deliberating on who their best young prospect is long term – he or Kuminga?
Regardless of your answer, we can acknowledge that the Warriors are in a fortunate position to have two young players with star potential. The Dubs finish their Summer League with a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.