Jonathan Kuminga says predraft workout with Magic went well

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Most of the pre-NBA Draft chatter about forward Jonathan Kuminga has been focused on his shooting, or rather issues with being a consistent shooter.

Kuminga, who was at Amway Center on Tuesday to work out for the Magic, shrugged off the suggestion that his shooting touch might drop him a few notches in the draft. The numbers for the 6-foot-7 standout from the Congo tell the story of his shooting struggles. With the NBA’s G-League Ignite, Kuminga, who chose to forgo college, shot just 38.7% from the field and hit only 24.6% of his 3-point attempts.

He said the knock on his shooting doesn’t concern him, and he maintains that he has improved with his play in the G-League.

“My shooting has been really good. I feel more comfortable shooting any range, taking any type of shot because I’ve been putting a lot of work in since I left the [G-League] bubble,” Kuminga said.

He shrugs off the so-called expert opinions.

“Anything in basketball really don’t bother me, as long as I know what I do ... to get better every day,” Kuminga said. “That’s all that matters, and that’s pretty much all my focus.”

He’s a much more formidable finisher when playing closer to the rim, and he’s an aggressive rebounder with a 7-foot wingspan. He averaged 7.2 rebounds per game. The best part of the 19-year-old’s game at this stage is his defense —he’s very aggressive, agile and quick on his feet.

The Magic have first-round draft picks at the Nos. 5 and 8 spots, and also will have a third selection at No. 33. Many scouting reports or mock drafts had figured Kuminga to go in the first five picks, but the Magic need a shooter first and foremost.

Kuminga is the third player the Magic have had in for a workout, along with Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert and FSU’s Scottie Barnes. The forward could still be around at the No. 8 spot for the Magic, and Kuminga said he’ll fit in wherever he lands.

“I’m not for sure if I’m a top-five pick, but I’m not worried about that,” Kuminga said. “That’s just the rankings. We don’t know where I might end up, so I don’t really be concerned about draft picks. I don’t really look into it.”

Kuminga said he used his G-League season to learn much more about the game.

“With the G-League, I think I grew a lot. I see myself as an all-around player,” Kumnga said. “When I went to G-League ... I learned a lot. ... the pace of the game, seeing the floor a lot better, a lot of spacing, all the game plays, I think, are pretty much in the NBA, so I think I needed to go out there and play for a year.”

He’s quite developed for being one of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft. Kuminga moved to the United States for high school at the age of 16 and played at three high schools, the last one being the Patrick School in New Jersey. He reclassified in 2020, forgoing his senior year.

He was a consensus high school All-American with schools like Duke trying to gain his services, but he chose the G-League, instead of college.

This article originally appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Chris Hays covers the Orlando Magic for the Sentinel. He can be reached at CHays@orlandosentinel.com.

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