With Frank Kaminsky‘s struggles and Christian Wood waiting in the wings, is the athletic big man close to getting real rotation minutes with the Charlotte Hornets?
It is clear to everyone that watches Charlotte Hornets‘ games that Frank Kaminsky is in the midst of the worst slump in his short career. For whatever reason, Steve Clifford continues to give him major minutes each game. The team has a lack of alternative options aside from Frank but with Christian Wood putting up some major numbers in the D-League, could his breakthrough into the rotation be coming soon?
Kaminsky is only in his sophomore season in the NBA but his struggles are starting to mount against him and the team as a whole. His poor defense, rebounding, and shooting has given fans a sour taste in their mouth when he enters games. While he has been a decent scorer this year, one has to wonder if the Hornets could find a better option at power forward off the bench.
That option could come in the form of Christian Wood who is on Charlotte’s 15-man roster but has spent most of the year with the Greensboro Swarm in the NBA D-League. He is scoring, rebounding, and blocking shots at a high-rate in the Developmental League but it is unclear if his play could translate to the NBA. With his upside, isn’t it at least worth a chance?
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Like I said before, for whatever reason, Coach Clifford is fixated on playing Kaminsky. He is rigid with his rotations and a change to the lineup or units doesn’t appear to be coming anytime soon. Even if Christan is worth the look, it likely won’t happen based on how the team is run.
While Wood doesn’t have a lot of NBA experience under his belt, his upside clearly outweighs that of Kaminsky. As many said when Frank was drafted, he is close to a finished product and he doesn’t have a huge upside. The problem with that? His finished product isn’t all that great.
On the other hand, Christian is the exact opposite. He went undrafted in 2015 but was given a shot with the Philadelphia 76ers. He did enough to impress the Hornets as Charlotte signed him to a two-year, $1.8 million deal. It was a low risk-high reward move but will they ever be able to reap the benefits of Wood’s game?
At the moment, the team seems committed to giving Kaminsky extended minutes. Looking at his play on the court and stats on paper, he hasn’t earned his 25 minutes per game. His defense is atrocious and his offense isn’t up to par this season.
Here’s a comparison of their stats so far this season:
Kaminsky – 10.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.4 BPG, 38.4% FG/ 29.5% 3P/ 66% FT
Wood – 17.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 2.3 BPG, 47.7% FG/ 21.7% 3P/ 69.8% FT
For one, his athletism would provide a huge boost to a team that is lacking in that facet. The Hornets only have 64 dunks this season which is 26th best in the NBA. Christian would immediately make a difference there by providing easy buckets inside. He would also make a considerable difference on the defensive end.
Wood is averaging 2.3 blocks per game this season in the D-League and with how horrible Frank has been on defense, Christian couldn’t be much worse. The biggest downfall about making the switch would be the drop in outside shooting but Kaminsky hasn’t proven to be a knockdown shooter. He is only shooting 27.8% on open (No defender for 6+ feet) three-pointers so far this season which ranks last among NBA players who are shooting over three per game.
While the move may not ever be made, it is an interesting thought. Steve Clifford and the organization should definitely entertain the idea if Kaminsky continues to struggle. For now, the D-League and the Greensboro Swarm is a great place for Wood to develop to hopefully become a productive member of the Charlotte Hornets in the near future.