Charlotte Hornets sophomore center Frank Kaminsky may have found his way in the NBA. While some could agree that it’s a bit overdue, considering how “late” he came into the league. After spending all four years at the Univeristy of Wisconsin, the 7’0″ prospect was a definite lottery-pick with all the success he had at the collegiate level.
During his senior year, Kaminsky led the Badgers in scoring with 18.8 points, while also pulling down 8.2 rebounds. He was also very efficient, shooting 54% from the field and 41% from three. He ultimately lost in the NCAA championship round to Duke in 2015, but it wasn’t going to halt Kaminsky’s playing career, as he decided to bring his talents to the highest level.
The Hornets selected Kaminsky with the 9th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, but the opportunity for Frank to vastly grow wasn’t always there.
In his rookie season, Kaminsky had 24 games where he scored in double-figures. His best performances came off a 23 point, seven-rebound effort in a 102-89 loss to the Boston Celtics. It was his only twenty-point game of the regular season.
Charlotte finished 51-38 with the sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference, but lost in seven-games to the Miami Heat in the 2015 postseason. Kaminsky was able to find valuable minutes at center, but didn’t perform well. In 27.1 minutes, he averaged just 7.1 points on 30% shooting as well as 29% from three.
Although plenty of credit must be given to the Heat’s defense, as they held Charlotte to under 44% shooting in the series.
Kaminsky has been more involved with the Hornets in his second NBA season. They’re beginning to give him consistent run at the five, as Steve Clifford is using him well in 1-5 pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop situations with All-Star guard Kemba Walker — which I believe Frank can master at in today’s game. He still isn’t shooting the ball consistently, but he’s on the right track.
Ultimately, Kaminsky is getting considerable minutes due to the health of Cody Zeller, who missed nine of the final ten games before the All-Star break, due to a quadricep injury.
It’s unsure whether Kaminsky will keep his starting role once Zeller returns. He’s played very well, but Zeller still brings much more to the table physically. Kaminsky isn’t quick nor athletic enough to guard fours, as we haven’t even mentioned that Marvin Williams starts at the position. It’s likely that as soon as Cody returns, minutes will be staggered between he and Frank.
In order for Frank to become a full-time starter, it’s vital that he gets comfortable and improves his efficiency. Frank shoots 51% on shots within eight-feet of the basket, but just 39% in the non-restricted area. He shoots 29% on shots within 10-14 feet, 26% from 15-19 feet, 41% from 20-24 feet, and 27% from 25-29 feet.
Hornets fans may know this, but a very bright go-to spot for Kaminsky is the left-corner three, where he has made 9 of his 22 attempts (nearly 41%).
Frank is going to be important for the Hornets’ long term success. It’s seems as whenever he has those big games, they become not just a complete offense, but as well as a complete basketball team.
LAST FIVE GAMES: 37.5 minutes, 19.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.4 blocks, 44% field-goal, 42% three-point, 61% free-throws.
Even though the Hornets are 1-4 in this stretch, we’ve been able to see some fantastic outings from Kaminsky. He scored 27 on 11-18 shooting against Toronto, and had a double-double of 23 points (9-18 shooting, 5-9 from three) and 13 rebounds in Staturday’s fourteen-point win over Sacramento.
It’s very clear that Kaminsky, who turns 24 in April, will be given plenty of opportunities within this Hornets offense — as we’ve seen the last five games. He has plenty of size and skill to make an impact, and he’s done so. It’ll be sustainable as soon as he develops consistency at the NBA level.