CHARLOTTE — The Hornets went big for the third year in a row, picking up Wisconsin forward/center Frank Kaminsky III with the ninth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Kaminsky is a 22-year-old senior who wasn’t highly recruited out of high school and struggled his first two years at Wisconsin before coming alive this year. The 7-foot-1 player averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 55 percent shooting.
Kaminsky was the Associated Press player of the year after leading the Badgers to the national championship games.
The Hornets surprised TNT’s announcers by passing on Duke small forward Justice Winslow after trading away Lance Stephenson.
Former NBA player Jalen Rose said of Miami getting Winslow just after Charlotte, “This reminds me of Dwyane Wade being drafted after Darko Milicic. He’s going to be better than some guys drafted ahead of him.”
Former Duke star Jason Williams questioned why the Hornets would take a Big Ten power forward for the third year in a row.
Charlotte picked Cody Zeller in 2013 and Noah Vonleh in 2014. Vonleh was just traded away, but the end result is that the Hornets got back another big-man shooter in Spencer Hawes.
While he played center in college, Kaminsky has the chance to be a stretch four as he shot 41.6 percent from three-point range.
Rose likened Kaminsky’s potential to Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-10 PF who averaged 13.7 points this season for the New Orleans Pelicans and is a career 38-percent shooter from long range.
On the other hand, ESPN director of production analytics Ben Alamar says the stats don’t support Frank Kaminsky as a top-10 pick. He considered this pick as the biggest reach in the lottery this year.
Top 10 Picks
1 Minnesota Karl-Anthony Towns (C) Kentucky
2 LA Lakers D’Angelo Russell (PG) Ohio St
3 Philadelphia Jahlil Okafor (PF/C) Duke
4 New York Kristaps Porzingis (PF) Latvia
5 Orlando Mario Hezonja (SF) Croatia
6 Sacramento Willie Cauley-Stein (C) Kentucky
7 Denver Emmanuel Mudiay (PG) China
8 Detroit Stanley Johnson (SF) Arizona
9 Charlotte Frank Kaminsky (C) Wisconsin
10 Miami Justice Winslow (SF) Duke