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Which Former Wisconsin Standout Will be Better in the NBA: Kaminsky or Dekker?

Former Wisconsin stars Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker were both drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NBA Draft with Kaminsky going number nine overall to the Charlotte Hornets and Dekker going 18th overall to the Houston Rockets. There is several people questioning whether or not Kaminsky can translate well to the NBA and some people think Sam Dekker wouldn’t have been a second round pick without his stellar NCAA tournament.

During the NCAA tournament, I wrote up a scouting report on Frank Kaminsky discussing his strengths, weakness, and where I think he is going to go in the draft. A player I didn’t discuss nearly as much was Wisconsin’s 2nd best player Sam Dekker. Dekker had a disappointing regular season in his final season at Wisconsin, as his sophomore year at Wisconsin was better in terms of points per game and rebounds and all that jazz. While it progressively picked up more and more onto the season, it wasn’t all that great to watch.

Dekker caught fire in the NCAA Tournament and it all started when the Badgers took on North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. Dekker put up 23 points which at the time was his career high until the very next game in the Elite Eight against Arizona Dekker poured in 27 points. Dekker went on a total tear in the 2nd half of that game, as he didn’t miss one shot in nine attempts finishing the game 5-6 from three and 8-11 from the field. That performance was capped off by a sweet dagger three-pointer that even had Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Let’s get into a scouting report of Sam Dekker now.

Sam Dekker

Getty Images
Getty Images

Position: SF

College: Wisconsin

Team: Houston Rockets:

Career: 12.1 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 1,3 assists per game

Dekker possess a great body for the small forward position, a guy who can play small forward and power forward as he received some power forward action at Wisconsin in past years when the team brought Nigel Hayes off the bench. Very explosive, showed his athleticism on tons of dunks throughout the college season, great first step and an improving mid-range and three-point shooting game. Great at cutting to the basket, fills the lane correctly on the fast break, moves will with the ball and seems to be always in motion. Great defender on the perimeter and a high basketball IQ. His biggest weakness is that he is not as elite an athlete as others in the league. That shouldn’t matter much, as Dekker will find a nice niche in the NBA.

NBA comparison: Gordon Hayward/Chandler Parsons

I think Dekker finally showed off the five-star potential during the NCAA tournament, and he picked a great time to do so as it was able to make him a top-twenty selection in the NBA draft. If you want just a quick recap of Frank Kaminsky’s scouting report, continue on reading.

Frank Kaminsky

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Postion: PF/C

College: Wisconsin

Team: Charlotte Hornets

Career averages: 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists (2014-2015: 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, voted National Collegiate Player of the Year)

Frank Kaminsky – the National Collegiate Player of the year coming out of Wisconsin has a great offensive game, but it’s important to find what works for him and what doesn’t. He wants to prove people wrong about him, and he has the tools to do so. Great shooter, excellent foot work, takes advantage of his seven foot body on offensive, great at switching hands and getting to the basket. While he isn’t explosive or quick, his high basketball IQ allowed him to detect his defensive match-up and ways to get by him or create and open look for him or another teammate – this is critical when it comes to translating his game to the NBA. Kaminsky will have to add strength to get more boards and help him win box outs, as he has the ability to put up multiple double-double seasons, but finished his senior year at Wisconsin averaging just under 10 rebounds per game. Strength and athleticism are the big questions in Kaminsky’s game, but if he can even improve them just a bit, it could make him more successful.

NBA comparison: Ryan Anderson/Spencer Hawes

I think Frank Kaminsky is way better than what people give him credit for in terms of where he ranks among the best players in the NBA Draft. What I do not think about Kaminsky however is, Sam Dekker will end up having a better NBA career, and it is not Kaminsky’s fault.

I think the two will both end up having solid and potentially great careers but if you told me I had to pick one player that will be better in the NBA I would have to say Sam Dekker. Dekker plays a much easier position for his skill set than what Kaminsky plays. Kaminsky is a power forward/center. Those guys have crazy athleticism and throw down rim-rattling dunk while Kaminsky stretches the floor and can dunk it, but now dunk it where people say oh man what was that I just saw? I compared Dekker’s game to two players that could become stars in the NBA and are on the verge of rising because of the positional factor.

None the less, it should be fun watching both Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker try to make the University of Wisconsin proud. I look forward to the game when Dekker and Kaminsky both square off in a NBA game with their respective teams.

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