NBA Saturday: Kaminsky Impresses at Combine
There’s a lot to like about Frank Kaminsky, who showed his self-awareness, maturity and drive at the Combine.
Basketball Insiders chats with Kansas product and draft prospect Cliff Alexander at the 2015 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
Kaminsky Impresses at NBA Draft Combine
For many, being the elder statesman at a combine full of young, energetic blue-chip talent could be somewhat strange – but not Frank Kaminsky. It’s all part of the plan for the four-year Wisconsin star and reigning NCAA Player of the Year.
“I knew I was going to stay in college for four years before I even got there,” Kaminsky told reporters at the 2015 NBA Draft Combine. “So I’m a different kind of breed, and I’m happy the way it worked out for me.”
It’s tough to argue with his logic, particularly after a behemoth senior year put him squarely in the national spotlight and, based on his projections in recent years compared with his likely lottery status in the upcoming draft, may have significantly increased his NBA draft stock as well. In Kaminsky’s opinion, age is really blown out of proportion during the pre-draft process.
“I’m 22 years old, and I get treated like I’m 65 going into the NBA,” Kaminsky said. “It’s not necessarily that I’m young or old, I just don’t think age plays as big of a deal as some people play it out to be.”
Frank the Tank, as many have dubbed him, is more concerned with how his play, both past and future, will lend itself to a long and productive NBA career. He knows his age doesn’t change how much he has to offer, and may even boost his stock in the later end of the lottery with several teams in that range needing more immediate, win-now help on the floor.
“I bring a lot different things to the table,” Kaminsky said. “On the offensive end, I bring a versatile skill-set, I could fit in with systems, I could fit in with people. I feel like I have a good personality and I’m committed to winning. If I’ve shown anything in the last two years of college, it’s that I want to win and I have a winning attitude, and I could bring that to the table.”
As far as particular skills go, Kaminsky is highly self-aware. He knows what he is, and just as importantly, he knows what he isn’t. Firmly within the former category is his talent for shooting the ball, one that will combine with his size to make him an excellent fit in the spacing-charged NBA. He shot nearly 42 percent on over 100 attempts in his senior year before measuring out as the tallest player at the combine, a skill set that could be tantalizing for many forward-thinking teams at the next level.
“I was a guard before I was tall, so I kind of just kept those skills with me and turns out that was the right decision,” Kaminsky said.
It’s a story reminiscent of Anthony Davis, who is set to be the league’s next megastar.
Interestingly, Kaminsky sees himself as more of a power forward even though he has center size and could bring depth and versatility to the five spot.
“I look at myself as more of a four, at least initially in my NBA career,” he said. “We’ll see what happens after that, but the way I feel right now I feel like I could play the four.”
Kaminsky has a long way to go despite his advanced age compared with many of his peers, a fact that’s not lost on him. The game is so different going from the college level up to the world’s top professional league, and even some of the most dominant NCAA players are unable to make the transition. Kaminsky knows what’s ahead of him though.
“It’s going to be different in the NBA,” Kaminsky said. “There’s a 35-second shot clock in college and there’s a 24-second shot clock in the NBA. So that first look you get that’s open, you’ve got to let it go. There were a lot of times in college where I passed up a good shot to try and work for something better, and in the NBA you can’t necessarily do that. So if you’re passing the ball and moving the ball to the right spots and you get an open look, you’ve got to take it, and I think that’s something I’m ready for.”
He also knows the other side of the ball, one where less emphasis and responsibility was typically placed on his shoulders throughout his years at Wisconsin, is also of vital importance in a league that has stressed the value of two-way players in recent years.
“Defense, that’s going to be a big thing,” he said. “Just getting my body better, more athletic, quicker. Just continue to improve on the things I did in college.”
Put it all together, and talented evaluators and media alike at the combine got a clearer picture of a wonderfully mature, self-aware and driven individual.
Kaminsky knows the value of committing to a goal and sticking with it after his four-year college career, surely an attractive factor to many front offices as player movement, particularly among high-level guys, has become easier and more common in recent years. He has the talent and physical profile to succeed at the next level, and may even become one of the steals of the draft if his shooting carries over fully to the NBA and he develops defensively.
And, perhaps best of all, unlike some who’ve come before him, Kaminsky doesn’t care where he goes as long as it’s an NBA city.
“I want to play anywhere. I’ve always wanted to play in the NBA so I’m willing to play for any team that wants me.”
Basketball Insiders’ Combine Coverage
The 2015 NBA Draft Combine is underway and Basketball Insiders is on the ground in Chicago doing interviews, shooting videos and producing content.
Be sure to check out our NBA Draft section for our in-depth coverage of the event.
All of our combine-related articles and videos appear on that page, so you can see what the players have the say and stay on top of the all of the action in Chicago.
Keep an eye out over the next few days for even more videos, articles and analysis.
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