In the game of basketball, there are three, irrefutable truths:
- Ball don't lie.
- You simply cannot fake the funk on a nasty dunk.
- Francis Stanley Kaminsky III is the greatest player in the United States of America.*
*Ok... the best player on the United States of America.
**Ok, the best player on the United States of America team.
***No, of course not the Olympic team— don't twist my words— I meant on the United States team in the 2017 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.
****One game sample size.
*****Also, “greatest” is probably debatable...
******You know what?? Shut up. Frank Kaminsky made The Leap last night, and I for one welcome our new Basketball Overlord.
In the annual showcase of the NBA’s top first and second year talent, Big Frank made an emphatic statement, scoring 33 points on 12 of 16 shooting from the field, going an all-of-the-flame-emoji’s 9 of 13 from downtown.
Denver Nugget’s rookie Jamal Murray narrowly edged out The Tank to lead all scorers with 36 points; walking away with MVP honors and a win for the World Team. Not to throw any shade at Murray’s stellar performance though, but the story of the night was Frank.
All-Star games, by definition, are cartoonish, acid-trip-of-a-basketball-game star showcases that hardly resemble anything close to a competitive or serious match. Big men forever consigned to dutiful, low-post dirty work are transformed into ankle breaking street ball gods. Flashy floor generals normally inhibited by head coach’s draconian insistence on “running plays” and “staying within the system” finally get a chance to throw that no-look, between the legs 86 foot alley oop. These are a post-apocalyptic, dystopian landscapes where defense and fundamentals have been outlawed. If a regular basketball game is a Tim Duncan bank shot, an All-Star game is Ricky Davis desperately shooting on his own basket to get a triple double.
All-Star games are for show-stopping playmakers, not for lumbering Stretch Fours who shoot 31 percent from three point range. They’re not made for the Franks of the world; they’re for the Kyries (though both guys did a bang-up job of disrespecting the World yesterday). So when Frank finally checked into the game near the half-way point of the first period, I had little reason to anticipate anything more than a rebound and a pass or two. Maybe a solid, fundamental screen?
FRANK: *tosses phone to bench* Nah, bruh.
Kaminsky checked in at about the 12 minute mark in the first half, and quickly splashed in a couple of threes, then ended the half with by catching a beautiful half-court alley-oop from Devin Booker for a exclamatory two handed jam.
He opened up his second half getting Kristaps Porzingis to bite on a nice ball fake, then
blowing by lumbering by the Knick’s star straight down the lane for a dunk.
From there, Frank put on the Three Goggles and took a ride down Splash Mountain. The Hornet’s big man hit seven threes to close out the game, including two in the final minute to pull the U.S. to within four points.
Hornets fans certainly needed something like this. After a hot start, this season has taken a catastrophic turn since January 1st, with very few glimmers of hope. Sure, it was just an exhibition game with almost no defense being played whatsoever, but this was a promising sign for the second-year forward who has at times struggled mightily this season.
In Frank’s last game before the All-Star break, he dropped 27 on the Toronto Raptor’s, carrying the majority of the offensive load for the Hornets. He’s undeniably talented on that side of the ball. The problem with him right now is consistency. One night he’s shooting 75 percent, the next he’s airballing back to back layups.
The good news is, his problem isn't lack of skill. He’s proven that his scoring prowess and shooting touch from deep isn't a fluke. But mentally, he’s still shaky. It seems like a confidence issue. Frank often looks hesitant, second guessing good, open looks and content to pass the ball off instead of looking to create his own shot.
Frank is always going to be more Gotye than G.O.A.T. But at this point, I think we’d all happily settle for the guy who’s shot 27 percent from deep being “Somebody That I Used To Know,” and I for one, immediately regret this reference and cannot apologize enough for inception-ing that song into your head, where it will undoubtedly remain for the next 48-72 hours.