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.