With the 9th pick in the NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select.... wait on it....... keep waiting...... Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky.
Not a bad pick until you look at who they passed up to get him.
When the Hornets went on the clock, they had a platter full of talent including Kentucky's Devin Booker, who they thought would be there and Duke's Justice Winslow, who fell down the draft board and sat up under the Christmas tree as the gift that keeps on giving.
YES, they turned down Winslow who some think could be one of the top 3 talents in the draft.
Shooting was something this team needed and needed badly (they were dead last in 3 point shooting last season), but this time they may have reached for the shooting and broke to golden rule; "take the best player available!"
This pick says the Hornets think Kaminsky is better than Winslow, but I'm not sure about that.
Winslow is a 6 foot 6 small forward with a heart and motor that is off the charts. He has a great shooting touch, outstanding defensive skills, very athletic, and a pretty decent ball handler. The ball handling is something he as to work on, but Winslow has what most would call a "high ceiling".
In only one season at Duke last year he averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures in 31 of Duke's 39 games.
But it was his play in the NCAA tournament when Justice would shine. During the Blue Devils run to the title, he averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds and shot 50% from the field.
Kaminsky is a 7 foot power forward who can shoot the 3.
Last season, Kaminsky averaged 18 points per game and 8 rebounds and shot 41% from 3 point land. It's that 3 point shooting as a 7 footer that made the difference in getting Frank the Tank in the Queen City.
Kaminsky was also the Consensus National Player of the Year. Not Jahlil Okafor or anyone off of Kentucky's outstanding team, but Kaminsky so that is saying something.
The big knock on Frank is his defense. Something this team is known for, but this pick may mean they are willing to give up a little D to get more points in the long run.
Don't get this twisted, I'm not saying that Frank is a bad player. I think he will be a solid player in the league, but I would not have picked him over Winslow. Just my opinion and the opinion of some who were at the Hornets' draft party.
As the pick was made in the arena, there was a mix of cheers and booos. Then you would hear more and more booos and then you would see fans shaking their heads as they really realized what the team passed up.
All the week, folks have been bashing Hornets General Manager Rich Cho. I for one thought he did a great job on the trades-- picking up Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb, and Spencer Hawes. All of which who upgraded this teams 3 point shooting troubles. But passing up a player of the caliber of Winslow may be something this team regrets down the road.
But as I type this, I continue to ponder, does Winslow fit in what this team wants to do? Lance Stephenson just didn't fit with this team last season. We all saw that. But the answer I come up with is, "yes, he does!"
I'm trying here folks to "justify" why the team passed on Justice; no pun intended.
In the end, we really just have to let this thing play out and it will play out right in front of our eyes.
Winslow would be picked by Miami the very next pick after Charlotte so he is in the Southeast Division with the Hornets.
In the end, I truly hope Frank comes in and lights it up for the Hornets because this team could be special if he does. They are setting themselves up to be a win right now franchise and I think Frank can be a solid piece to that success.
But if things don't work out, the sting of this draft night will last for a VERY LONG TIME.
One thing is for sure, this season now has true BUZZ to see how this plays out next season and beyond.