Frank Kaminsky

Justise Winslow reportedly aced pre-draft interviews. So why did he fall?

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Our own Scott Dargis described Justise Winslow’s draft range as the Knicks at No. 4 through the Heat at No. 10, but it’s difficult  to find others who thought there was even a chance Winslow would fall all the way to Miami.

Here’s how a few rated the Duke forward:

Most seemed to agree he was a clear tier above the players below him on those lists, too.

But Winslow slipped to the Heat at No. 10.

What did NBA teams see that so many of us didn’t?

Whatever it was, it apparently didn’t come out during pre-draft interviews.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Twenty-nine teams rolled their eyes in June when Justise Winslow fell to Miami at no. 10 in the draft. Winslow may never become a star, but he has a chance at it, and he blew away executives during the draft interview process.

Lowe is plugged in enough to know how teams perceived Winslow’s interviews. I believe, if there were a major red flag, it didn’t pop up there.

My working theory: The NBA consensus on Winslow was about as high as perceived – and if not quite, within the reasonable margin for error – but the teams picking before the Heat just happened not to like him as much.

Taking Winslow No. 4 would have been too high, and the Knicks made a better call with Kristaps Porzingis. I wasn’t as high on Hezonja as most, but few complained about the Magic taking him at No. 5. Admittedly, his upside is incredible. If a team has an appetite for risk, Hezonja made sense over the safer Winslow.

With respect to Winslow, it really got interesting at No. 6.

The Kings, who picked Willie Cauley-Stein at No. 6, deserve little benefit of the doubt for their drafting acumen. I rated Emmanuel Mudiay higher than Winslow, so I don’t knock Denver for picking the point guard at No. 7. The Pistons took Stanley Johnson over Winslow at No. 8, but that could just be a minority opinion. The Hornets are clearly in win-now mode, so polished senior Frank Kaminsky appealed to them at No. 9. Plus, Michael Jordan is hardly a reputable drafter.

So, a few teams didn’t like Winslow. It doesn’t mean the NBA as a whole thought less of him than it appeared.

If the Celtics were drafting before Miami, they would have taken him – and they offered a boatload of draft picks for that opportunity. I suspect many other teams would have drafted him sooner if positioned to do so.

Maybe something will emerge about why Winslow fell, but it darn sure wasn’t how he played at Duke, and it apparently wasn’t his pre-draft interviews. We’re running out of possibilities.

Hornets’ coach says rookie Frank Kaminsky needs to add strength

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In the college game, guys can get away with bulk instead of strength, and just being smart and a little quick can get a guy space. Then they get to the NBA, and it takes strength not bulk, and everybody is quick

So when you ask Hornets’ coach Steve Clifford about rookie Frank Kaminsky and what he needs to do to earn a steady stream of minutes, the leap in conditioning and strength is what comes up. And the Charlotte Observer did ask him.

Just strength. And obviously him adjusting to the NBA game. But he’s a quick learner and a good worker. He’ll pick things up quickly. That applies to both ends of the floor. He’s so good off the dribble that he would beat guys but be pushed off (his lane to the rim) a little bit. So a lot of times, where in college he got to the basket, he was instead taking 8-to-10 footers. As he gets stronger, he’ll be at the basket again.

There’s an adjustment for every rookie coming into the NBA — suddenly everyone is long and strong — but at Summer League Kaminsky showed the skills that should have him fit quickly into the NBA. He looked like a player who may start at the four as a rookie and be able to run the pick-and-pop with Kemba Walker (leaving the post open for Al Jefferson to do his thing). There was plenty to like, but some questions to answer (specifically on defense).

Kaminsky should turn into a solid pick for the Hornets at the four.

 

Report: Hornets signing 7-footer Jason Washburn

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The race for the Hornets’ final roster spot just got a little deeper.

Charlotte has 14 players with guaranteed contracts plus Elliot Williams ($80,000 guaranteed), Aaron Harrison ($75,000 guaranteed) and Sam Thompson (unclear guarantee).

Before trimming its roster to fit the regular-season limit of 15, the Hornets are adding another candidate.

E. Carchia of Sportando:

Jason Washburn will sign with the Charlotte Hornets for the training camp, a source told Sportando.

Washburn went undrafted out of Utah in 2013. The 7-foot center has played overseas since. He wasn’t really touted as a draft prospect two years ago, and the biggest red flag is his lackluster rebounding for his size.

I’d guess the Battle Creek, Mich., native didn’t get any guaranteed money. If so, that would put him further behind the competition for Charlotte’s final spot.

Washburn’s best chance isn’t outplaying Williams, Harrison and Thompson. It’s the Hornets deciding they need more help at center. Al Jefferson will start, and Spencer Hawes will back him up. But is Tyler Hansbrough, Frank Kaminsky or Cody Zeller comfortable as the third center? I think Hansbrough can handle it, but if he can’t, that opens the door slightly for Washburn.

NBA rookies impersonate Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Matthew Dellavedova and more

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Brandon Armstrong (see here, here, here, here and here) isn’t the only one who can impersonate NBA players.

SB Nation fantastically asked NBA rookies to imitate other players. With all due respect to R.J. Hunter impersonating Matthew Dellavedova, both Nick Young imitations – by Kelly Oubre and Frank Kaminsky – take the cake.

Report: Hornets reach deal with Tyler Hansbrough

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One former Tar Heel is coming home.

Tyler Hansbrough has agreed to a deal to join the Charlotte Hornets, something first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. While not yet announced, is almost certainly for the veteran minimum.

Hansbrough spent the last two seasons playing a limited role off the bench in Toronto. Last season he averaged just more than 14 minutes a game, scored 3.6 points and grabbed 3.6 rebounds a game.

He likely will play the same limited role in Charlotte. They have Al Jefferson starting at center with Spencer Hawes behind him. At Hansbrough’s preferred four spot there is Cody Zeller, and the just-signed Frank Kaminsky. That’s not a lot of minutes for Hansbrough.

Hansbrough plays with energy, is strong on the glass (particularly on the offensive end), and is a decent defender. However, he has almost no shooting range and doesn’t stray from the rim much — last season 89.6 percent of his shots were within 10 feet. That makes him defendable.

Still, the former Tar Heel should be popular with the fans.