Benet grad Kaminsky ready for anything as NBA Finals shifts to Milwaukee
Frank Kaminsky is clearly hoping for a double championship in 2021.
His Phoenix Suns are up 2-0 in the NBA Finals as the scene shifts to Milwaukee for Sunday's Game 3. And the die-hard White Sox fan is planning to make himself at home at Guaranteed Rate Field when the Finals end.
Remember, Kaminsky was the guy walking around the United Center in a Cubs "Bartman" jersey during the 2016 MLB playoffs.
"I can't wait," Kaminsky said in a phone interview. "Once we're done here, once we bring that (NBA) championship home, getting back to Chicago and seeing some (White Sox) games in person."
Kaminsky's role with the Suns right now is to be ready for anything. The Benet Academy grad saw some reserve minutes in the first two rounds of the playoffs, then didn't play at all in the Western Conference finals against the Clippers. Now with both Dario Saric and Torrey Craig suffering knee injuries in the first two games of the Finals, it's possible he could play a bigger role in Game 3 and beyond.
"We have a really good team," Kaminsky said. "We have a lot of guys who could be playing that aren't and I think that's what makes our team so good. That's been a theme all season, it's not going to change when the Finals hit. You've got to be ready for anything."
Originally drafted by Charlotte in 2015, it took some good fortune for the 7-foot Kaminsky to even be in a Suns uniform. He signed a two-year deal with Phoenix as a free agent in 2019, but after a good start to last season, he suffered a fractured knee cap, missed several months and the Suns didn't exercise his option for the second year.
Trying to land an NBA job somewhere, Kaminsky went to training camp with Sacramento, but was the last player cut. It turned out the Suns claimed him off waivers and here he is, two victories from an NBA title.
"Honestly, this year has been a great experience," he said. "It's been so much fun. There's nowhere else I would rather be this season. Coming into the year, I said when I came back, this would be the best team I've played on in my career and it has been by far."
The Bulls could certainly learn from Phoenix's sudden rise. A young team that couldn't make the playoffs suddenly turned title contender with the addition of veteran point guard Chris Paul. Kaminsky talked about how Paul transformed the Suns.
"It starts with his leadership," Kaminsky said of Paul. "His ability to see the game, the way he plays the game, is honestly unlike anyone I've ever played with. The way he's able to take a situation or see something that's happening on the floor and just go with it, it helps us win games and he's been doing that all season long.
"I've said I before, he's the consummate leader. He takes on that role and he lives it in his every day life. When he came here, you can tell there was a shift in the culture. Like, 'OK, it's time to compete now.'"
In the first Finals appearance of his 16-year career, Paul averaged 27.5 points, 8.5 assists and shot 56 percent in the first two games.
"Chris sees things out on the floor that maybe a coach doesn't see and he'll come in the time out and start talking before (coach) Monty (Williams) even gets there," Kaminsky said. "It's crazy. Honestly, it's crazy how he sees the game. It's unlike anything I've seen."
Kaminsky appreciates being in Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4, close to his home in the Western Suburbs, as well as his college home of Madison, Wis.
"Absolutely. Chicago and Milwaukee are the two places I always feel like I'm at home," he said. "Honestly, I struggled trying to find enough tickets to get my family in.
"It's something I've missed, especially in a year where we couldn't have fans, we couldn't be around our families, have them come in and stay with you for the first part of the season. Now being able to have them share in this experience, it's pretty special."
• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls