Hornets Select Kaminsky
July 2, 2015
The Charlotte Hornets surprised many in last week’s NBA Draft when they chose Frank Kaminsky. Reportedly, Kaminsky was highly coveted by owner Michael Jordan. Coveted so much that the Hornets passed on Justise Winslow of Duke who unexpectedly was still available when Charlotte took Kaminsky with the ninth pick in the draft.
The 7-foot-1, Kaminsky elevated his stock his senior season at Wisconsin, where he was named The Associated Press Player of the Year while leading the Badgers to a win over previously unbeaten Kentucky in the Final Four, before falling to Duke in the national championship game. He was the only Division I player to average at least 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and 1.5 blocks for the season.
Jordan and the Hornets hope the third time is a charm as Kaminsky’s selection marks the third straight year the team has selected a Big Ten power forward with its first pick.
Frank Kaminsky to the Hornets
The last two have not worked out as planned. Charlotte chose Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh the last two seasons. The team traded Vonleh and veteran guard Gerald Henderson prior to the draft to Portland in a deal that brought Nicolas Batum to the Hornets. Zeller has been inconsistent and is looking more and more like a role player off the bench.
When asked why the franchise went with Kaminsky over Winslow, general manager Rich Cho spoke of Kaminsky’s size and versatility coupled with his shooting. He also spoke of Kaminsky’s post skills on offense. What Charlotte needs is perimeter shooting and Kaminsky can shoot the ball. He shot just under 55 % from the floor last year and 41.6 percent from three-point distance.
What Cho did not say is that Winslow’s skill set is very similar to Batum who will be a welcomed addition to the roster. He also did not mention the fact that Kaminsky played four seasons at Wisconsin and at 22 is one of the older players in this year’s draft and perhaps better prepared for the NBA.
PGA Thriving Without Tiger
Most thought the PGA Tour would suffer drastically without Tiger Woods’ name on the leader board on a weekly basis. The game did take a little hit for a few years but there are a host of young names giving the game numerous story lines. I came up with these as the sport continues through its run of majors this summer.
I have to start out with Jordan Spieth and his attempt to win the Grand Slam. The youngster could record the third leg of what has to be considered one of the most difficult achievements in all of sports at St. Andrews later this month. Even if Spieth does not capture the 2015 British Open, he has already had one of the best seasons ever for an American golfer. With his Masters victory and his US Open win, Spieth is one of only three Americans to win multiple majors in a season. Woods and Mark O’Meara were the others.
Rory McIlroy will likely be favored to win the British Open. If he does, the storyline of a Spieth/McIlroy rivalry will really pick up. If either win at St. Andrews, that means that one of them would have won the last five majors heading into the PGA Championship in August.
The rivalry could make some think of Palmer/Nicklaus. Or of Federer/Nadal in tennis, another individual sport. Hopefully, we’ll get a two-golfer showdown at St. Andrews on Sunday.
A continuing storyline is which rising young player will finally their first major? Will the likes of Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Ricky Fowler, or Dustin Johnson break through? Can the not so young stars like Sergio Garcia or Henrik Stenson win a major? You would think someone new will join the club. Of the top 15 golfers in the world, only Spieth, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, and McIlroy have major trophies on display at their homes. That means nine of the top 15 players on the planet have won majors.
Another storyline is that there are other young guns out there. Justin Thomas, Morgan Hoffman, and Daniel Berger have moved into the top 100 in the world this season. Patrick Rodgers has gone from number 721 in the world to No. 139. And I would not count out the likes of Tony Finau or Scott Pinckney. They, too, are shooting up the world rankings. All these guys are 26 years old or younger. I have to think a few of these guys will win majors eventually. It would be good for the game if it happened soon.
Let me close with Tiger. I have repeatedly written in these pages that he will regain his superiority. I am truly starting to have my doubts. Every time he tees it up, we are left with more questions than answers. His play of late has been embarrassing. It is amazing how quickly Woods is becoming a non-factor. He is playing the Greenbrier, the British Open and the PGA Championship. I guess we will know more by the end of August on his future.