On Tuesday night, with 8:24 left in the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which the Phoenix Suns won 118-105 over the Milwaukee Bucks, Wisconsin Badgers legend Frank Kaminsky checked into the game for Deandre Ayton. It was the first action for Kaminsky in weeks, who didn’t play at all in the Suns’ series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, and for Wisconsin fans it was a surreal moment.
Kaminsky only played four minutes in the game and didn’t record a single stat in the box score, but it was the culmination of a long journey for Kaminsky this season. You may remember that the Suns declined a team option on Kaminsky this past offseason. That left him to sign with the Sacramento Kings, who cut him in the preseason, before he found himself back in Phoenix on a more team-friendly contract.
“I wanted to stay there the whole time,” Kaminsky said in an interview with Jim Polzin earlier this week. “It was a roundabout way to get exactly what I wanted.”
Kaminsky only got in the game at all because backup big man Dario Šarić left with a knee injury in the second quarter and, if we’re being perfectly honest, he might not see too much playing time going forward even if Šarić remains on the sideline. The Suns pretty effectively played Milwaukee bigs Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis off the floor so there might not really be a need for Kaminsky outside of spot minutes.
Either way, this is amazing feather in his cap for Kaminsky who easily could’ve been out of the league and is, instead, three games away from winning a ring.