Wiseman or Kuminga: Who will be the Golden State Warriors’ next star?

James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Golden State Warriors are fresh off winning their fourth NBA title in the past seven years. They did so while they were preparing themselves for life after the dynastic core. It was a risky endeavor for Golden State to embark on last year. After all, conventional wisdom dictates that you are either a rebuilding team or you are a contender who is all in. Yet this was precisely what Golden State was able to pull off.

While many clamored for them to trade away their picks and young players for veterans who would be able to contribute right away, their owner, Joe Lacob, was adamant about retaining their assets. Last year’s championship validated this approach by the Warriors’ leadership, who were able to compete in the present with their veteran core while also building up a stable of young players who would take over the reins once the core starts to decline.

Who will be the Golden State Warriors’ next star?

The Warriors have a number of intriguing young players. Last year was the coming out party for Jordan Poole, while rookies Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga showed promise and intriguing potential throughout the season and in the playoffs. Let’s not forget about the former second-overall pick, James Wiseman, who had his rookie season cut short due to a meniscus injury and missed the entirety of last season due to the same injury.

Golden State has an intriguing nucleus of young players, but who will be the one that is able to develop into the Warriors’ next franchise player? As things stand now, Jordan Poole is the best player among the young core, but his ceiling seems to be a player like C.J. McCollum. The former Lehigh University product has had a great NBA career, but he is by no means a franchise player. Meanwhile, Moody projects out to be a prototypical 3&D wing, which in today’s game is a crucial role on any team, but again, not a franchise player.

Therefore, we are left with the two most physically gifted but most raw prospects that the Warriors have: James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga. Both players are physical marvels and possess incredible athleticism. At the same time, they lack fundamentals and awareness. They are both very young, so these flaws can still be corrected. This begs the question, which of these two players is more likely to become Golden State’s next star?

James Wisemen or Jonathan Kuminga?

Let’s start with James Wiseman. As things stand, the former Memphis Tigers’ best-case scenario seems to be a Rudy Gobert type of player. While Wiseman has shown a better shooting touch than Gobert, his offensive repertoire falls short of the likes of Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, or Karl-Anthony Towns. It may seem unfair to ask this much out of Wiseman, yet to be the Warriors’ next star player, this is the level he would need to reach.

As we all know, the modern NBA is tailored for and dominated by two-way wings, and it hinders the value of big men. This makes it more difficult for big men to be the centerpiece of a team’s offense. Additionally, when you consider that the Golden State Warriors system’s strengths are predicated on the ability to play small, it seems highly unlikely that Wiseman could be the centerpiece of it.

The opposite is true for Jonathan Kuminga, who plays the league’s most coveted position. Like Wiseman, Kuminga is also an incredibly gifted athlete and possesses the ideal size to be a prototypical wing player. He has all the tools to be a dominant two-way wing. If Kuminga can improve his shooting and handle, we could be looking at a more athletic Kawhi Leonard. This may seem hyperbolic, as Leonard is one of the best players of all time.

dark. Next. Green's latest incident should be the last straw for GSW

Yet it is not that farfetched of an idea that Kuminga’s ceiling is this high. If the Golden State Warriors are able to develop his skills and feel of the game, to go along with his natural gifts, he will be the next franchise player once Stephen Curry retires and will be one of the best two-way wing players in the league.