With the 2015 NBA Draft less than a month away, NBA teams are frantically trying to decide where each potential draft pick belongs on their big board. Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker are both ranked around 10-20 on most draft boards, and each will have a great opportunity to prove themselves at the next level, but which former Wisconsin star will have the better NBA career?
Both Dekker and Kaminsky showed the ability to play inside and out in college, producing offense from the low-post and the wing. As this translates to the NBA, Dekker may have the upper hand. At the combine, Kaminsky measured out at 7'1'' with shoes and Dekker measured 6'8''. Dekker, however, has a 6'11.5'' wingspan compared to Kaminsky's 6'11''. Dekker's size and wingspan will allow him to continue to work inside out, especially with an improved outside stroke. Dekker will be able to play small forward at the next level and have a heigh and length advantage in a lot of his match-ups. I expect him to adapt an old-school game on offense, scoring from the low post as well as creating for others from the post position by drawing double-teams when faced with a smaller defender.
Kaminsky will have a tougher time translating his inside game to the NBA. In college, Kaminsky had a size and weight advantage against most of the centers he faced. Even the best defensive teams Kaminsky faced, like Michigan State, had no one over 6' 8'' who played in the game. Kaminsky will not have these kind of mismatches at the next level. The good news is Kaminsky did show the ability to score against the bigs of Kentucky in the final four, but doing this consistently at the next level will be hard for the four year college star against consistently stronger and longer players in the post.
Defensively, Dekker will need to improve his lateral quickness when guarding quicker forwards, but his wingspan will help. He should be, at the worst, an average defender, with potential to become a great defender because of his versatility being able to guard multiple positions. Kaminsky, on the other hand, may have some trouble on the defensive end. If Kaminsky wants to be as valuable as possible on the offensive end, he will have to be a center, stretching the defense and forcing the opposing center to guard away from the basket. This will provide problems for Kaminsky on defense. He will have to guard true centers like Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan who will impose a great challenge to Kaminsky in the low post.
The big advantage Kaminsky will have to exploit is his ability to stretch the floor as a big man. He can be an asset to a team and give a team the ability to play a small lineup if he can guard true centers on defense and provide a mismatch on offense. These scenarios, however, will only be at certain times of the game, against specific match-ups. It will be tough for a player with Kaminsky's specific skill set, which I believe is very similar to Ryan Anderson's coming out of California, to be a consistent starter in the NBA. Dekker, on the other hand, has a great chance to become a consistent starter in the NBA. While Dekker may never be an all star caliber player, he has the versatility on offense and defense that almost any NBA team can use.
Ultimately, we will hear both players' names called around the middle of the first round. What team they end up on may have an effect on what kind of impact they will have immediately, but both will eventually have a chance to test their skill-set in the NBA. I believe Dekker will prove to be more valuable as an NBA starter, with Kaminsky being more of a match-up player who is used a lot on some nights and sparingly on others.