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The Sun Also Rises...on Frank Kaminsky

The Badgers legend is carving out a role in Phoenix as the first big off the bench.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

2018 No. 1 overall draft pick center Deandre Ayton was suspended for 25 games on Friday for testing positive for a banned substance. While that is a bummer for the Phoenix Suns and Ayton and also fans of exciting, young players who also have NBA League Pass has already proven to be a boon for former Wisconsin Badgers legend Frank Kaminsky.

Kaminsky, a former first round pick himself, signed with the Suns this offseason after four mostly nondescript years with the Charlotte Hornets. Sometimes a change of scenery is all a talented, frustrated player needs. So far this season, which is admittedly only three games old for Kaminsky and the Suns, the desert is treating Big Daddy Fupps well.

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

In the two games that Ayton has missed due to his suspension, Kaminsky has 19 and 18 points and has played 33 and 29 minutes respectively. He is averaging 15.3 ppg, 7.7 rbg and 3.0 apg, which would be career-highs in every category by a considerable amount, so far this season.

Frank the Tank’s 2019-20 Season

Game Minutes Points FG FG% Rebounds Assists
Game Minutes Points FG FG% Rebounds Assists
W vs. Clippers 29 18 7-13 53.8 8 6
L vs. Nuggets 33 19 4-12 33.3 11 1
W vs. Kings 19 9 4-7 57.1 4 2

He’s only shooting 3-of-13 from beyond the arc, but he’s getting to the free throw line often (13-of-15 on the season) and is rebounding misses at a higher percentage than at any other point of his career. If he can get into an effective pick and roll relationship with Devin Booker or Ricky Rubio...hoo baby the Suns could be lethal on offense.

Kaminsky has always had the skill set to succeed in the modern NBA on offense. He’s 7-feet tall and he can pull his defender away from the basket and stroke a three. He and Dario Saric could provide a different look than Ayton normally would and if Kaminsky is able to keep passing well, it will be hard to take him off the floor even when Ayton’s suspension is over.

If Kaminsky can get his defense up to an average level, so far this year he has neither blocked a shot nor stolen a ball, he could be one of the best signings of the offseason if you take into account his contract.

As the only Wisconsin Badgers alumnus currently plying his trade in the NBA, we will continue to have coverage of how his season is going. Later this week, Kevin will have an update on how the Overseas Badgers are doing so far this year.