With the ninth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky. As draft night approached, Kaminsky's projected draft position rose and that was likely a reflection of the thoughts from Charlotte's owner. Michael Jordan reportedly became infatuated with the Chicago-product during the draft process, pushing the team to choose him when the time came.
Kamisnky is fresh off a year that ended in a national championship appearance, averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in the process. His numbers and national impact were good enough to earn him consensus national player of the year honors.
The Hornets finished dead last in 3-point field goal percentage and Kaminsky's most attractive attribute is his shooting ability. Whether the organization was dead set on the four-year Badger or not, in the public's eyes, Charlotte choose Kaminsky over Duke's Justise Winslow and a package of four first-round picks from the Boston Celtics.
Kaminsky was the ideal prospect in this draft for what the Hornets are trying to do this season. The context around what the Hornets could have done with the ninth pick will forever make Kaminsky a polarizing figure.
Winning now is the goal
Kaminsky is more prepared to help his team right away then any rookie in the draft. His maturity, combined with his game fitting what Charlotte wants, is what makes him so NBA ready. He certainly has the largest possibility of any rookie this season in helping his team win games during his rookie season.
With this draft pick, Charlotte is looking for immediate impact rather than long-term potential. Rich Cho and his band of officials need a good season to keep their jobs so a rookie that can make their team better right away, and not five years down the road, was a welcomed sight at the ninth pick.
That doesn't mean Kaminsky won't turn out to be a good NBA player, I actually think he will end his career having vindicated his draft position. He may not be the best player from this draft but he may be the best rookie.
Thanks to his ability to shoot and Charlotte's offensive transformation, Kaminsky can contribute right away. He was inconsistent during the NBA's Summer League and I expect that inconsistent play to continue throughout his rookie season. He won't be burdened by it as much as other rookies because of his maturity but he won't be immune to it.
The Hornets were the worst outside shooting team in the league last season. They had the opposite of spacing because of it. Kaminsky's shooting ability will represent one piece of the puzzle in terms of rectifying that. During his final season at Wisconsin, he shot 41 percent from deep. He also increased his 3-point shooting percentage each season in Madison.
Josh McRoberts, a name that seems to still haunt the franchise, was a facilitator on offense and his ability to hit an outside shot kept opposing defenses honest. When the Bobcats made the playoffs in their final season, the offense was predicated on keeping defenses honest so Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson had room to work. Kaminsky's shooting ability will keep defenses from crowding the interior.
He showed NBA range while in the college game and the more outside shots he hits, the more it opens up his dribble-drive game and opportunities for his teammates. He could blossom into becoming one of the team's better offensive facilitators, but I don't expect that to happen in year 1.
He's a versatile offensive player that can step outside and hit a shot, challenging opponents to defend him in the league's new spacing era.
Despite his size, Kaminsky is an underrated dribbler and passer. He didn't have trouble dribbling or finishing in college but in the NBA, he'll need to add strength to continue that (what rookie doesn't?).
You won't find the same explosiveness in Kaminsky's game that we saw McRoberts dish out in Charlotte.
His overall explosive athleticism leaves a lot to be desired. While he has good feet and features solid mobility, Kaminsky isn't a fast player. We won't see him beating guys down the floor like we've seen Cody Zeller do in the past.
In college, he was able to leverage his size and length to be a solid rebounder and a decent defender at times. He was an adept finisher at the college level. To carry all of those things over to the NBA, Kaminsky will have to add muscle to his body. To rebound at his expected rate, to not be a complete liability on defense and to maximize his offensive potential, it is pivotal that Kaminsky adds strength.
In post-up situations, Kaminsky often gave up deep post position in the college ranks. Until he adds the needed strength, he'll require help each time an opposing offense targets him.
Kaminsky's a former national player of the year
Kaminksy came across the University of Wisconsin's recruiting radar in March of 2010. According to the Chicago Tribune, a Wisconsin assistant witnessed Kaminsky score 15 points in a loss against Jabari Parker and legendary Simeon Career Academy. Howard Moore, a UW assistant at the time, said he couldn't wait to get back to Madison and tell head coach Bo Ryan about the big man he just saw.
Everybody knows the story from there. Kaminsky went on to have a fantastic college career, and ended up being player of the year his senior season on the way to a championship appearance. However, he couldn't overcome Justise Winslow and a very good Duke team.
To begin the season, fans may not see much of Kaminsky but this will not turn into a Noah Vonleh situation. While it's entirely possibly that Clifford throws Kaminsky into the fire right away, I doubt it happens. Until he has the defense down and performs in practice, Kaminsky won't be on the floor often. I expect the rookie to nail everything down fairly quickly and make himself one of the more impactful rookies this season.