Did the Hornets Miss With the Ninth Pick?


With the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select Frank Kaminsky, from the University of Wisconsin.

Those were the words that Adam Silver uttered last night when the Hornets made their selection of who would help this franchise build for the future.

Frank Kaminsky was the man who Charlotte GM, Rich Cho, Michael Jordan, and the front office of the Hornets saw as the best player left on the board. The Hornets were high on Kaminsky throughout the draft process and saw him as one of the best players.

Many fans of Charlotte and of the NBA saw the pick a bit puzzling with the players that were left on the board. Many top talents dropped right into the laps of the Hornets at the ninth pick but the team completely ignored those players and were set on their man.

Now I am not saying that Kaminsky was a bad pick or that he will be a bad player. I am sure that he will have a good season and also an average career. I just don’t see him ever becoming a star in the NBA or even an all-star. With a top-10 pick in the draft and especially one of this talent, you are looking for a player that will contribute for years to come and possibly become an all-star someday. Kaminsky may be able to contribute right away as well as over the next ten years but he does not show star potential. He really does not show much potential at all.

Kaminsky averaged 18.8 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game last season for the Wisconsin Badgers who made it all the way to the nation championship game where they lost to Duke. He is a limited defender who is athletically challenged. He has poor lateral quickness. He can shoot the three and has great footwork. He does not have much upside but he can be a productive player.

He is an NBA ready player who played four years in college, so he has the experience that most lottery players don’t but it also means that he is an older draftee than most others. He is 22 years old. So what you draft now is probably the player that you will get over the rest of his career.

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There was a position of need heading into the draft for the Hornets and that need is still there after. They have traded away two shooting guards recently in Lance Stephenson and Gerald Henderson. They acquired Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb in recent trades as well but Batum is more of a small forward and Lamb is not a proven player in the league yet so he will likely come off the bench for the team. What they needed was a shooting guard and two were there for the taking at the ninth pick. Justise Winslow and Devin Booker.

Winslow was potentially a top-5 talent that fell straight to the Hornets who needed a player of his caliber. Winslow played for the National Championship winning Duke Blue Devils last season where he averaged 12.6 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. While not the same numbers that Kaminsky put up, Winslow shows almost some great potential and also doesn’t have many holes in his game. He can play both sides of the ball very well and competes. He is a flat-out baller and winner. He has some trouble with his outside shot but it does have the potential to improve. He is a great athlete and has good size. He is only 19 years old and has a tremendous upside with a potentially bright future ahead of him.

Booker is a straight shooter out of Kentucky. He is possibly one of the best shooters int he draft and many saw him going to the Hornets when mock drafts were first released before the draft. It was again a position of need at shooting guard and also the team lacked perimeter shooting last season. Booker definitely would have helped the team in that regard. He is only 18 years old and has the potential to be a great shooter in this league for years to come. He has a high basketball IQ but lacks an explosive first step. He also has trouble on defense at times. He can be seen as a possible Klay Thompson type player.

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As I said before, Kaminsky will be a good player in this league for years to come but when players at a need position fall to your pick in the draft, especially a player like Winslow who could have gone top-5, you can not pass on him. Kaminsky could be seen as a reach because he was projected to go in the teens of the draft. Hornets fans just hope that the front office made the right decision here. This is the type of miss that could cost a team for years to come. Winslow could potentially be an all-star and is seen as the steal of the draft.

Now we won’t know if the pick was miss until a few years down the road, so only time will tell.

Charlotte could have been the team that came away with one of the top-5 players in this draft with Justise Winslow but instead the team made yet another questionable draft choice and basketball fans alike are left scratching their heads.