For many of the guys that you’ll see picked in the lottery of the 2015 NBA Draft, things came fairly naturally. While all had to put in significant amounts of work to get to the green room, things came sooner rather than later for most. In Chad Ford’s latest mock draft for ESPN, the top ten American-born players projected to be selected were all ranked in the top 25 of their respective classes coming out of high school with the exception of two: Willie Cauley-Stein and Frank Kaminsky. In particular Kaminsky, no one would have imagined would be here. We’ll see WCS in a few weeks, but last week, we witnessed the latter in the flesh just recently in Santa Barbara.
Joining Stanley Johnson, Kelly Oubre, the Harrison Twins, and a host of others, “Frank The Tank” showed his stuff to over 150 NBA scouts during the BDA Sports Pro Day. His one-on-none workout gave a glimpse of the ridiculous potential that the 7-1 power forward has not just as a shooter (he shot 42 percent from three last year), but as a playmaker from the post position. Throughout my decade in the scouting industry and endless talks with NBA scouts, there are few things that translate to the NBA level, but shooting is one of them.
“Shooting and rebounding translate at any level you play at. Frank, he can do them both,” his trainer Charlie Torres exclaimed. “We do a lot of Dirk stuff, a lot of one-leg shots. He loves it and is working with it…and he can shoot off of one leg from 25 feet. He’s as smooth as watching a surfer come off a wave.”
While Torres is by no means donning him the next Nowitzki, you could certainly see some similarities in their game. While most 7-footers are forced to man the middle, it’s evident that Kaminsky’s talents will be best utilized facing up, where he can not only create mismatches for himself, but also create scoring opportunities for others. He is a coach’s dream in that you can imagine endless opportunities to utilize him in the pick-and-pop game. You can use the 22-year-old as a trail big, and despite the fact that his 234-pound frame isn’t packed with bulging muscles, he is still able to hold his own defensively. This wasn’t always the case.
Growth spurts from 6-2 to 6-6 to 6-9 to 7-1 followed Kaminsky during each year of high school. Playing on a stacked Illinois Wolves squad that was led by Chasson Randle, Tracy Abrams, and Nnana Egwu, the gangly center wasn’t exactly a guy who showed out. In fact, I had to dig through my notes from years ago and all I had for him was “nice J from mid-range.” Owning offers from Northwestern, Bradley, Southern Illinois, and Bradley, this isn’t the school list that you usually see out of a future lottery pick. Then again, this isn’t your usual future lottery pick.
The size, stroke, and improvement that Kaminsky has made in his game over the last half decade make you believe that he’ll be just fine at the next level. He has consistently proved all of his doubters wrong from the high school level to today and should continue to do so once he hits the league. Just as much as what he brings to the table on the hardwood, the contributions that he’ll make to the cultural dynamic of a franchise make him a lock for the top ten come June 25 in Brooklyn.
“Frank’s approach to the game is going to make him successful and is very professional. He’s going to make a lot of money with his personality and charismatic manner,” explained Torres. “His want to get better at any aspect in life and energy make him fun to be around, both on the court and off the court. Frank is a pro.”
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