If you wanted to follow all of the former Wisconsin Badgers in the NBA last year, you just needed to check the Phoenix Suns box scores and see if Frank Kaminsky played due to foul trouble (until the Playoffs where he acquitted himself quite nicely in an expanded role). This year, however, you’re going to have to do twice as much work!
That’s right folks, the NBA is back (the Bucks kicked the Nets’ ass in the season opener on Tuesday night) and so is Sam Dekker who made the Toronto Raptors after showing his worth during the preseason.
The Raptors have waived Ishmail Wainright.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 16, 2021
He should have interest around the league as a positionally versatile defender and maybe the best person I’ve ever met around the sport.
Sam Dekker makes the roster.
The former first round pick hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2018-19 season and has spent the past two season overseas playing for Lokomotiv Kuban of the Russian League and Türk Telekom in the Turkish Super League. According to SI, those two year away from the NBA have helped Dekker relax and mature.
“I learned that I didn’t have it all figured out, that’s the biggest thing. You have to swallow your pride when you go over there, look yourself in the mirror, not be ashamed of yourself,” he said.
While Dekker won’t find himself in the rotation right away, his improved shooting during the preseason (56.3% from the field and 62.5% from deep, a limited sample size for sure, but still!) should keep him around in case Toronto’s depth is tested.
Kaminsky, in his seventh NBA season, will continue his role as a backup big in Phoenix for the defending Western Conference Champions Suns. During preseason, he averaged 5.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.3 apg and will help if Phoenix runs into injuries again this year.
Here’s hoping we get to see some NBA highlights this season from two of the greatest Badgers basketball players of all time!