It would be hard for any 7-footer just to blend in with the wallpaper, particularly so when you were just drafted with a top-10 pick.
So Charlotte Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky took it in stride Wednesday when associate head coach Patrick Ewing offered up a candid critique.
“He said I’ve got to bring more energy,” Kaminsky said of what Ewing told him following Kaminsky’s first NBA practice.
“I know he’s going to be on me. They expect a lot from me. I was the ninth overall pick in the draft, so there are a lot of things I need to live up to. They expect the best out of me every practice and I have to bring it.”
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The Hornets have 14 players in minicamp preparing for the Orlando Summer League starting Saturday. But make no mistake, the priority this week is getting Kaminsky up to speed and further developing contract players P.J. Hairston and Troy Daniels.
“This is for Frank, P.J. and Troy. They are our main focus. Everybody else is secondary,” said Ewing, who is coaching the summer-league team. “We expect for them to play well and try hard. They know most of the schemes we’re doing. They have a head start on everybody else.”
That’s likely more true about veterans Hairston and Daniels than it is about rookie Kaminsky. He’s catching up to numerous variables: new NBA rules, a faster pace and trying to simultaneously learn two positions -- power forward and center -- at basketball’s top level.
Kaminsky said the night of the draft that he’s more comfortable playing power forward at the NBA level than center. The next day coach Steve Clifford said he wanted Kaminsky playing both positions in Orlando to explore how best he can be utilized.
One of Kaminsky’s strengths is he can score both inside and outside. He shot 42 percent from the college 3-point line last season with Wisconsin. The Hornets want that from him, but Ewing -- a Hall-of-Fame center -- said the game hasn’t changed so much that big men can stop playing big.
“The only bigs who were shooting 3s back when I played were Sam Perkins and (Bill) Laimbeer. Now there are a lot more 7-foot guys shooting 3s. And a lot more guards posting up,” Ewing said.
“They have to still be able to do all the other things. They still have to post up, they have to rebound, they have to play defense. As a player it’s good to be able to do a lot of things, but you have to have one thing you can hang your hat on.”
Kaminsky considers himself lucky to be coached by a former center as accomplished as Ewing. Wednesday he was processing a lot of variables.
“It’s a little difficult just because I’ve never played with these people before. You’ve just got to get used to other people’s tendencies -- how they like to play, how they like to come off ball screens. Picking that up in such a short amount of time is pretty difficult,” Kaminsky said.
“Defensively it’s a lot different than what we did at Wisconsin. That’s just the nature of the NBA -- it’s a faster game, there’s not as much time in the shot clock to make decisions. Some similarities but also some differences.”
Ewing made sure Wednesday to set expectations.
“He was kind of rusty today. First-day jitters maybe,” Ewing said. “We expect good things out of him.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell