Frank Kaminsky has had a roller coaster season thus far for the Phoenix Suns, albeit a short one. Regardless, it is time for him to start over Dario Saric.
Don’t fix what ain’t broken. That is conventional wisdom to live by. The Phoenix Suns are off to a surprising and impressive 6-4 start to the year, so this adage would lend credence to keep on doing what they are doing.
Perhaps I might have withheld such brazen coach advice merely a few days ago when Kaminsky was trudging through a 5-game slump that saw him average just five points per game and go 0-13 from behind the arc.
During this stretch, the big man from Wisconsin seemed to lose a bit of confidence. And by a bit, I mean a lot.
Even when he was open, he appeared to be hesitant to go up with his shot, and at times, seemed to shy away from contact, only averaging 4 rebounds per game, which is objectively not a lot for a 7-footer.
His four games prior to that were a different story. He averaged 14 point and eight rebounds during that stretch, leaving many folks thinking the Suns-Kaminsky relationship was budding.
Spoiler alert: it still is.
While I was honest in my pondering that if he were to continue on his downward trajectory, he might fall victim to a shortened rotation similar to Javon Carter, wow, what a difference a game makes.
Kaminsky balled out against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, putting up 16 points and nine rebounds, including two out of this three deep balls.
His confidence, it seems, has returned.
While Kaminsky has exceeded expectations as a new member of the Phoenix Suns (save for noted brief confidence hiatus), Dario Saric has been exactly what the Suns expected when they traded for him.
That is not necessarily a bad thing, but not great either.
Saric has been consistent through his first 10 games with the Phoenix Suns, averaging 10 points and six rebounds. While 10 points is just two points off Saric’s career average of 12 points per game, it is also technically his career low.
By contrast, when Kaminsky runs with the second team, he is the second scoring option behind Tyler Johnson.
That might be fine, but the way Kaminsky scores is so often off garbage buckets. The Suns simply do not run many plays for him.
This kind of role would fit perfectly into the starting lineup, where the fifth scoring option needs to thrive off put backs, shot-winding-down 3s, and convenient mismatches caused by switches on screens.
Dario Saric, on the other hand, could experience a little more freedom on the offensive end if he were the second scoring option with the second unit.
By making him more of the go-to guy, his numbers might eke back up and it could take some pressure off some of the other second string guys like Mikal Bridges, who are not necessarily in the game for their scoring.
The starters could also use Kaminsky’s size.
Saric is no hobbit at 6’9, Kaminsky is actually 7-feet fall and without the length of Deandre Ayton, the Suns could use some length to go along with Aron Baynes’ girth.
Granted, Kaminsky is not exactly a defensive powerhouse, but he is capable enough, and you like your basketball-loving uncle told you, you can’t teach height.
Having said all this, it is hard to argue with whatever Monty Williams is doing. He seems to have this team pegged fairly well and has made all the right moves thus far this season.
I’m just saying the notion of Kaminsky starting over Saric is not totally irrational and the idea warrants consideration.
Of course, this is until Deandre Ayton comes back from suspension, at which point Aron Baynes should be the fifth starter.
Then again, another great basketball cliché also rings true here:
It’s not about who starts, it’s about who finishes.