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Pacers draft prospects: A closer look at Frank Kaminsky

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Larry Bird sees value in four-year college players who can contribute immediately and that describes Frank Kaminsky. The big man's ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shot improves his NBA potential as the league continues to evolve to smaller lineups that make use of the three-point shot.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Frank the Tank, an outstanding college player, whose final two years with Wisconsin elevated him to a lottery pick in the draft. With the Pacers need for a big man, here is a look at three of his strengths and three of his weaknesses:

Strengths

  1. Mobility- Taking a look at big men for the Pacers, mobility is a huge key for the future. As we all know, the Pacers are looking to speed the game up next year making mobility of utmost importance for a new big man. Seeing Kaminsky play he is quick up and down the floor with a great running style. He is very fluid in his motions on the court and is more than capable of taking slower defenders off of the bounce. His mobility offers opportunities for both going to the rim and scoring on quick, transition, jump shots. His mobility is one of his biggest strengths and something that would stand as invaluable to the Pacers in speeding the game up. Compared to Roy, his speed offers quite a huge lift during the game and makes it tough on other 7'0 defenders.
  2. Shooting Ability- Kaminsky's ability to knock down long perimeter jump shots is one of his biggest assets as a C/PF. Being able to stretch the floor by making a fantastic 41.5% of threes per 40 minutes coupled with an outstanding 54.7% of field goals per 40 minutes while attempting 14.9. Shooting such a high percentage only bodes well for Kaminsky in the NBA, especially against bigger slower defenders who will struggle to defend these long-range jump shots. Kaminsky showed his shooting abilities and mobility in the Final Four against both Kentucky and Duke, who have strong post presence. Along side his shooting abilities is his free throw shooting which was fantastic over his four years. A teachable skill that really helps when a big man gets fouled quite often.
  3. Versatility- Kaminsky has show to be a very versatile big man. As mentioned already, he is an excellent outside shooter, especially for a big man, that offers a huge stretch at the 4/5 position. His versatility continues to shine with his outstanding footwork in the post and his already mentioned mobility. Adding together footwork, mobility, shooting, and knack for coming up big, offers a huge combination that provides a lot to the Pacers. Kaminsky allows the Pacers to stretch the floor, speed up the game, and be more dynamic with a young versatile talent like Kaminsky.

Weaknesses

  1. Rebounding- Kaminsky's rebounding was not horrible throughout his career, but is an area that does need work. His numbers are pretty low compared to other top big men coming out of college averaging only 1.8 offensive rebounds per 40 and 8.0 defensive rebounds per 40. Together these numbers do not look to great, meaning Kaminsky was seen spending a lot of time on the perimeter, rather then on the block. Being a more perimeter oriented player offers good versatility, but means his low post presence will not be as high quality as other guys.
  2. Defense- Kaminsky's defense was pretty average over his career at Wisconsin. Looking at his defensive stats reveals he blocked an average of 1.7 shots per 40 minutes. A pretty low number for 7'0 footer, especially one as highly touted as Kaminsky. The low block numbers show his rim protection is low and raises questions to his ability to defend the block against more talented players in the NBA. If Kaminsky is pushed toward more of a PF role, rather than a Center, he will more than likely struggle to defend smaller, quicker, individuals on the perimeter. Kaminsky has some quickness, but it pales in comparison to the 6'7-6'9 individuals he will have to guard. Kaminsky's size also leaves him very vulnerable in the post to offensive players much bigger, who can bully him and take key position on the low bloc. Getting bigger and gaining some quickness will be huge for Kaminsky to become a solid NBA defender.
  3. Potential- While Kaminsky was a great college player, a lot of questions still remain to his upside in the NBA. He offers some great stretching abilities and some great skills for helping the Pacers get better, but more than likely he will be an average NBA player. Kaminsky seems to be missing that explosive athleticism and "it" factor that would allow him to become a major factor in the NBA. He provides a solid player who will give the Pacers solid minutes, athleticism, and skills, but not the franchise big man they would be looking for. I would dub Kaminsky as the safe pick for a solid player in the NBA, but a player with pretty low upside for the future.