No. 1: Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
Jonathan Kuminga has not had a smooth start to the season. After dominating in the Warriors’ preseason run he has struggled with his shot in the regular season. He is averaging a career-best 12.4 points per game but on just 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent from deep.
Kuminga’s efficiency should level out, and once it does he is going to be one of the most dangerous young forwards in the league. He is already a strong defender capable of matching up with multiple positions, and his athleticism in the open court makes him one of the best transition players in basketball.
The Warriors have a lot of good players, so Kuminga doesn’t get the playing time that some of his peers do, but he is playing well already and still has a lot of room to spread his wings. If he can bring his athleticism to bear on the glass his impact will only increase.
The most valuable position in basketball is at combo forward, and having a positive defender, good shooter and athletic scorer in one package makes Kuminga the perfect fit for modern basketball. Nearly every team in the league would like to have a player like Kuminga. Newly turned 21 years old, Kuminga’s ceiling is still very high.
There are players who made the list with strong offensive upside or defensive upside, but only the elite players on the list boast both. Kuminga hasn’t put it all together yet, but it’s a very real possibility that he becomes an All-Star with a two-way impact; that is more valuable than getting a guy who can drop 25 but gives them right back on defense. He shouldn’t have been high on this list, but Kuminga’s total package should have found him a place on this list.