Five questions Hornets face heading into preseason

Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell answers the top five questions the Charlotte Hornets face heading into the preseason during Friday's Hornets media day.
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Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell answers the top five questions the Charlotte Hornets face heading into the preseason during Friday's Hornets media day.

Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky: ‘I’m not weird.’

By Rick Bonnell

September 27, 2015 07:59 PM

Charlotte Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky was asked at media day Friday for one thing he’d like people to know about him.

“I’m not weird,” Kaminsky replied. “I might come off weird sometimes.”

Weird? Nah. Perhaps a better word to describe Kaminsky’s personality would be quirky. He has a dry, ironic sense of humor he often shares on his Twitter account (@FSKPart3). Fellow Hornets rookie Aaron Harrison says he appreciates Kaminsky’s silly side almost as much as Kaminsky’s basketball skills.

Kaminsky seemed to enjoy that description when it was relayed to him.

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“That’s just how I’ve always been. I like having fun and joking around,” Kaminsky said. “I appreciate it when people enjoy my silliness. It’s so awkward when I make a joke and someone just stale-faces me. I get upset, actually.”

That’s not to say Kaminsky doesn’t know when to be serious. He did something rare these days, passing on being a possible lottery pick following his junior season to complete his college eligibility at Wisconsin. The Badgers beat Harrison’s top-ranked Kentucky team before losing to Duke in the national championship team.

The Hornets selected Kaminsky ninth overall, passing over -- among others -- Duke’s Justise Winslow. One of the advocates for selecting Kaminsky was Hornets owner Michael Jordan. Kaminsky grew up in Chicago watching Jordan star for the Bulls.

He’s still getting his head around that Jordan seal of approval.

“He was my idol growing up. I had his posters all over my walls,” Kaminsky said. “So it’s kind of crazy knowing he’s the one who wanted me here.”

Kaminsky believes he’s better for having played all four college seasons. Sticking around Madison an extra year just fits his non-conformist personality.

“I have a different mindset,” he said. “I think if I had left after my junior year things would have been different for me. Going back for my senior year and having another year to prepare myself, I learned a bunch of things. I think it’s better prepared me for what’s ahead.”

Hornets coach Steve Clifford likes what he has seen so far. Seven-footer Kaminsky averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds with the Badgers last season. The Hornets anticipated his 3-point shooting range, but his play at Orlando summer league suggested he’s a better ballhandler and passer than he might have shown in college.

Center Al Jefferson is excited about what he and Kaminsky might do in a high-low post formation where Kaminsky can feed Jefferson inside.

“I think I do kind of surprise people sometimes,” Kaminsky said of his perimeter skills. “I was a guard before I grew to be this tall and I kept all those skills with me. Little did I know how much those skills would benefit me this much. I like being an all-around player and trying to be unstoppable.”

Kaminsky was last a guard his sophomore season in high school. He had a dramatic growth spurt between the end of his freshman season and the start of his junior season, going from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-9.

Clifford believes Kaminsky can definitely contribute as a rotation player this season. That’s a contrast from last season when Clifford prepared fans for lottery pick Noah Vonleh not playing much his rookie season.

Kaminsky is being fast-tracked, which will make this preseason extra important. He says he’s ready for all the cramming that might entail.

“Even in summer league it’s not necessarily an NBA-pace game,” Kaminsky said. “In training camp I’ve heard we’re going to play a lot. I’m really looking forward to getting back into game shape and learn all the tricks. I’m really excited.”

Notes: Shooting guard Troy Daniels was limited in practice Sunday by a strained hamstring. He’s listed as day-to-day...The Hornets had two-a-day practices Saturday and Sunday. They were originally scheduled for another two-a-day on Tuesday, but Clifford has canceled the evening session. That’s somewhat a reward for how hard the group has practiced so far.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell