A roller coaster of a season has opened the door to believe that Charlotte Hornets seven foot big man, Frank Kaminsky, can be a viable second scoring option on the team. The only thing missing from his game right now is consistency.
Former ninth overall pick, Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky, started his second season in the NBA just about how everyone thought he would. Just alright. There were no real immediate strides from his rookie year early on, but he did however post two 20 point games during the month of November. These games would already match his season total from the previous year, but he appeared to be lacking a lot of confidence in his game during this stretch.
Kaminsky would then go on to dip further down during the month of December. His stats would drop from 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assist per game, shooting 41 percent, to 9.0 point, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, shooting a below average 33 percent.
While his stats dipped, the rest of the team didn’t follow in his path. During the months of November and December, the Hornets jumped out to a 17-14 record.
Throughout both months he was very mediocre from the 3-point line, posting similar averages of 27.4 and 27.6 percent. As a stretch big, shooting more efficiently from beyond the arc going to have to be one of his main focuses during the offseason.
The Tank is categorized as a center, however I believe he plays more of a power forward role. That said, among the nine eligible centers in the league, Kaminsky ranks 8th in 3-point shooting percentage. That isn’t good enough.
Even if he were labeled as a power forward, he would rank as the 21st (out of 27 eligible players) best in 3-point percentage. He would fall behind Hornets starting power forward, Marvin Williams, who sits at 15 while shooting .350%. Many expect Kaminsky to take Williams’ spot next season as the starter.
These numbers are pretty poor for Kaminsky since shooting the ball is supposed to be his niche. The pick and pop game that works so effectively for Kemba Walker would be really effective if Kaminsky could hit shots at a more efficient rate.
However, there were points during the season in which we saw exactly what kind of potential Kaminsky has. Once the Hornets lost starting center Cody Zeller in February, Kaminsky was inserted into the starting lineup and his production began to quickly rise.
Kaminsky would go on to score a career high — at that point — 24 points in 24 minutes and seven rebounds against the Golden State Warriors. A couple weeks later, he would top that career high against the Toronto Raptors scoring 27 points.
Both of these efforts resorted in losses and the month of February wasn’t kind at all to the team as they would finish the month just 3-8. However, you could see the team’s trust in Kaminsky increase as his minutes would begin rising along with his production.
Then his best game would come and it wasn’t even for the Hornets.
Kaminsky would be selected to play for Team USA during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars challenge for NBA All-Star Weekend. As stated earlier, this would end up being his best game of the season, as he finished with a team high 33 points on only 16 shots in what was a losing effort to Team World.
This game would showcase exactly what the Hornets are looking for out of Kaminsky. Efficient shooting on 12-16 from the floor and 9 made 3-pointers. This is a Rich Cho dream.
His play continued to rise after the All Star break, as he finished the month with five 20 point games —only had six his entire career before this month— along with four double-double performances (he previously only had one career double-double).
This was the Frank Kaminsky that the Hornets have been waiting for since they drafted him in 2015. He averaged 18.1 points on 43.2 percent shooting, to go with 7.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game during the month of February. It appeared he had finally arrived.
Unfortunately, his rise would be shortened due to a shoulder sprain, causing him to missed the next five games.
He would then return mid March and continue with his pre All-Star up and down form, ending the regular season averaging 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, shooting 39.9 percent from the field, and 32.8 percent from 3.
Comparing this season to his rookie season, Kaminsky did take a little jump in his scoring production, leaping from 7.5 points he averaged last season.
These are quality bench player numbers and hopefully he will see his numbers jump up next year to the similar stats he put up during that mid season stretch. His role with the team will very likely be increased during the 2017-2018 campaign and he will definitely have the opportunity to prove that he can carry that end of season confidence into the new year and be a quality starter for the Hornets.