Frank Kaminsky wants you to know that his potential isn’t ‘tapped out’

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NEW YORK – Compared to the rest of the guys who will be sitting in the green room at the 2015 NBA Draft, Frank Kaminsky is a 22-year-old senior citizen. He’s the lone guy out of the group who completed all four years of school, which is quite an accomplishment in the one-and-done age.

“People who go to college have to grow up and find their way. It’s not easy to make it for four years in college and maintain a level of success where you get better and better every year,” Kaminsky said during the pre-draft interviews. “I was able to do that. I was able to grow up as a person and grow up as a player.”

Indeed he did. Kaminsky got better and better each year throughout his time at Wisconsin, with the culmination coming in his senior year as he was named a consensus first team All-American, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and the Naismith National Player of the Year. And he led Wisconsin to the national championship game, to boot.

Kaminsky had the highest player efficiency rating in the entire country and had a higher usage rate than Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, yet his draft projection is all over the place. No one seems to know where the seven foot kid who loves to play FIFA is going to land, but we know it’s very likely that he’s not going to be taken inside the top eight.

You would think that a kid who took it to Towns and Okafor in the NCAA Tournament would be bothered by this notion, but Kaminsky doesn’t seem to care. “It doesn’t matter to me,” Kaminsky told NBCSports’ ProBasketballTalk when asked about what it feels like to have his current draft projections after accomplishing so much in college. “I know what I can do and I know what I’m capable of, so I’m just willing to go to any team and try to make the most of it.”

The one talking point that has bothered Kaminsky is the idea that he’s done evolving as a basketball player. When he was asked if there were any misconceptions about him heading into the draft, Kaminsky responded with a serious, almost annoyed tone, “That my potential is tapped out already. I seem to hear that a bunch of times. People talk about ‘I don’t know how high his ceiling is.’ You know it’s cool, you guys can write all what you want, I don’t really care because I know I’m the person who has control of all that. So I can continue to make myself better and continue to get better at basketball.”

But the question is where will Kaminsky continue to grow as a basketball player? Rumors surrounding the Bucks moving up in order to keep him in Wisconsin have floated around. He’s been linked to the Suns at 13. Most notably Phil Jackson has seemed enamored with the big guy’s ability to act as the center in the Triangle Offense, which means we could see the Knicks trade down from the fourth spot, if Towns, Okafor and Russell are gone, in order to grab Kaminsky along with some other assets.

If Kaminsky were to wind up in New York, he believes it would be a good landing spot. “I think it would be a good fit because they run the offense through some bigs and it’s a lot of screening action,” Kaminsky said. “You know I feel like I can fit into a lot of offenses, but the triangle gives you a bunch of reads that you’re able to make and that’s kind of the offense that we ran at Wisconsin.”

Kaminsky acting as one of the pillars in the triangle would be fascinating to watch as his mobility, patience in the post, and ability to handle the ball make him a nice fit for The Guru’s offense.

The one thing he wouldn’t be looking forward to if he wound up in New York? The congestion.

“I don’t like all of the traffic,” Kaminsky noted.

It’s something he might have to get used to.

Watch Spurs Collins bloody Russell Westbrook with a foul, get ejected

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
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Jakob Poeltl was dominating the paint, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds in 10 minutes, and giving the Lakers serious trouble. Then he had to leave the game with a sore quad, meaning Zach Collins would get more run.

Collins was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 on Russell Westbrook that left the Lakers guard bloodied.

Collins plans to appeal the ejection he said after the game.

Collins will face a fine or suspension from the league, although he doesn’t have a history of this kind of foul, something the league takes into consideration. Westbrook also got a technical for going after Collins.

The Lakers went on to beat the Spurs 143-138, behind 39 points from LeBron James. It’s the second time the Lakers have defeated the Spurs in three days, the kind of wins over tanking teams the Lakers need if they are going to turn their season around.

Watch Victor Wembanyama drop 30-point double-double in France

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Maybe you spent your Saturday afternoon watching Lionel Messi doing Lionel Messi things. Or intense college football rivalries.

In France, they spent part of the day watching Kylian Mbappe be brilliant but then flipped over and watched future No.1 pick Victor Wembanyama drop a 30-point double-double.

That’s two straight 30-point double-doubles for Wembanyama.

He will be the No.1 pick next June (barring something catastrophic), and teams are already thinking about the lottery next June.

Expect some other teams to jump in that mix at the bottom because the depth of this class goes well beyond just Wembanyama with Scoot Henderson, Amen Thompson and others. The tanking is coming people.

 

Boogie Cousins called Warriors GM Myers and got reality check on why he’s not in NBA

2022 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors
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DeMarcus Cousins didn’t understand why he didn’t have an NBA contract this season.

He thought he had proven he could help teams in need of front-line depth last season, first in Milwaukee when Brook Lopez was out following back surgery and gave them 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds a game of solid play. The Bucks ultimately let Cousins go for financial reasons, so the Nuggets picked him up to backup Nikola Jokic. He was again solid, averaging 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds a game (and he had a 31-point night against the Rockets).

Confused, he called one of the former GMs who brought him in, Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors. Myers relayed their conversation on the All That Smoke podcast (via NBC Sports Bay Area).

“DeMarcus called me a month ago and he said, ‘Why am I not in the NBA?’ ” Myers told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the “All The Smoke” podcast earlier this week. “And I said, ‘You want that answer? … Because people are afraid of how you’re going to act.’ And he’s like ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Well whatever the reason is, it’s here now.’

“And I like DeMarcus. You guys may know him. He’s just, I can’t blame him for him because of all he’s been through.”

Not long after that conversation, Cousins spoke with Chris Haynes and said he learned from his past mistakes.

“Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. Have I done things the wrong way? Absolutely. For that, I’m very apologetic. But I’ve done even more things the correct way and I’ve done even more positive things compared to my negatives. I just don’t want those positives to be overlooked. And obviously, whenever it gets to the point where the negatives outweigh the positives, you should probably move away from him. That’s just how life goes. But I don’t believe I’m in that boat. I’m just asking for a chance to show my growth as a man and a player.”

Cousins also had physical issues, including a torn ACL that cost him a season with the Lakers in 2019-20. He also had domestic abuse allegations at the time (those charges were dropped a few months later).

Cousins just wants the chance to prove he is past all that and can help a team like he did last season. There have been rumors out of Taiwan that Cousins could join Dwight Howard in that league, but Cousins has not confirmed that. He still wants his shot in the NBA. So he waits, and hopes he can change the narrative around him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo says of Evan Mobley, ‘He can be better than me’

Cleveland Cavaliers v Milwaukee Bucks
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Evan Mobley hasn’t taken the leap forward in his second season many expected, partly because he has to adjust to playing with a new, dominant backcourt in Cleveland of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. Mobley is getting nearly five fewer touches a game and is not getting the same chances to use his off-the-bounce skills (73% of his shots this season come off zero or one-dribble) as he did when he was a rookie.

That doesn’t mean his superstar potential has gone away. Just ask Giannis Antetokounmpo, as Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer did.

“He can be better than me,” Antetokounmpo told cleveland.com in an exclusive interview while walking out of Fiserv Forum… “I don’t see why he can’t. It’s up to him. I will always try to improve. Every day. But he has the skill set to be a very, very good player. He’s 7-feet tall. He can move really well. He can shoot. He is very smart. As you said, he watches tapes of other players, which is very, very good for a young player. If he takes this seriously, he is going to be great.”

Better than Giannis? What could possibly make him say that?

“I didn’t average what he is in my second season, so he’s already ahead of me,” Antetokounmpo told cleveland.com. “It’s in his hands. If he stays humble, continues to work hard, focuses on the game and shows love to the game of basketball, he is going to be really good.”

One of the players Mobley is known to study on tape is Antetokounmpo. Of course, mirroring the force and athleticism Antetokounmpo plays with is next to impossible, but Mobley has the skill set that could see him become a shot-creator and scorer on the wing with the ball.

The Cavaliers don’t need him to be that with Garland improving and Michell being better than advertised. Cleveland has a top-five offense and hasn’t had to turn to Mobley for more scoring and shot creation. But that can change, especially come the playoffs against the strong defenses of teams such as the Bucks and Celtics. Ultimately, how far these Cavaliers can go in the postseason over the next few years could come down to the growth of Mobley on the offensive end.

Antetokounmpo believes Mobley could be special in that role, which should give fans in Cleveland even more hope.