How Jonathan Kuminga's Warriors development differs from James Wiseman's

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Myers: How Kuminga's rookie development differs from Wiseman's originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors are building towards the future while simultaneously competing for a championship in the present. They are in a unique situation that very few organizations are able to pull off.

After selecting center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Golden State doubled down on their future by taking both Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody with the No. 7 and 14 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. These three make up a young core that is rounded out by 2019 first-round pick and third-year guard Jordan Poole.

Wiseman was thrust into action immediately last season, playing in the Warriors' season opener against the Brooklyn Nets. A rollercoaster of a rookie season was cut short due to a meniscus injury that has continued to sideline him throughout the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Bob Myers joined The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on the latest episode of the TK Show, where the Warriors GM explained why Kuminga has had more success early on in his rookie season than Wiseman did last year, and if the organization learned anything from the situation.

"They're all different ... everybody's got to run their own race, every rookie has got to run their own race," Myers said. "So you do pick up patterns and how you can better acclimate a guy. It's not that anyone did anything wrong or corrected anything, it's more about let's put all the information on the table, knowing that each player is different and knowing that James [Wiseman] is a big and bigs sometimes take longer. 

“I think if you’re comparing the two, I would say Kuminga had a training camp, at least some of one,” Myers added. “He had a Summer League. James had none of that. James’ first time we saw him play was in Brooklyn, our first game of the (2020-21) season. That’s completely different from Jonathan playing a couple preseason (games), playing in Summer League, being in training camp.”

Prior to the 2021 draft, there was speculation that the Warriors might end up trading one or even both of the first-round picks that they ended up using on Kuminga and Moody. Myers explained why it's important for organizations such as the Warriors to continue their pursuit of cornerstone players through the draft process, even if some players don't pan out.

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“The point is that when you draft high, our belief is you need to try for those kind of guys," Myers explained. "It’s not to diminish the value of a role player; we’ve had them and they’ve been immensely valuable. I don’t know if we win championships if we don’t have a Livingston. Or some of those kind of guys. But you also don’t get there if you don’t have a Durant or Curry or Klay or Draymond, those guys that just separate themselves. Those top 20-25 players in the league.

“Our thought is when you have a chance to get those guys, you have to try. Recognizing that it’s a big swing. It’s saying, I want to try for the home run. Could be wrong. Doesn’t mean everybody has to believe that. But that was the thought behind some of the picks we’ve made recently.”

As Wiseman's rehab slowly progresses, the Warriors envision an immediate future where Golden State's next core offers a preview of what's to come.

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