To understand what the Warriors see when they visualize the year 2028, when Jonathan Kuminga is a fully formed 26-year-old, one must begin with what the Milwaukee Bucks visualized in 2013.
Golden State’s vision for Kuminga, a raw 18-year-old with wondrous athleticism, aligns with that which the Bucks had of a skinny, athletic 18-year-old they drafted eight years ago.
A kid named Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Cue the widespread skepticism. Laugh, out loud. That’s the logical reaction because Giannis is different, one of one, a generational superstar.
Nobody could know that in 2013, and it would have been delusional to anticipate Antetokounmpo’s climb to the top of the league. When NBADraft.net evaluated teenage Giannis, it concluded that his best NBA comparison was Nicolas Batum.
“The sooner we can get him on the floor, the better it’s going to be,” John Hammond, then general manager of the Bucks, said after making Giannis the 15th pick of the 2013 draft. “You look at it and say, ‘Is it going to be a D-League type situation?’ I hope not. The best thing to do is just keep him right here with us, be around NBA players, NBA games, NBA travel. Let him grow and develop.
“If he hits, this kid could be special.”
Giannis hit. Like a sledgehammer. Now 26, an eight-year veteran, he’s a two-time MVP, the leader of the newly crowned NBA champion Bucks and MVP of the 2021 NBA Finals.