Inside the Panthers

Rookie Aaron Harrison survives Charlotte Hornets’ roster cuts

Barring some additional roster move, it appears undrafted rookie Aaron Harrison will make the Charlotte Hornets’ opening-day roster.

The Hornets cut several players Friday whose contracts were not fully guaranteed for the 2015-16 season: Damien Wilkins, Elliot Williams, Sam Thompson and Jason Washburn were all waived after the Hornets completed their preseason schedule with a 7-1 record.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford had identified Harrison, Wilkins and Williams as candidates for the 15th and final roster spot.

After going unselected in June’s draft, Harrison drew the Hornets’ attention in Orlando summer league. A 6-foot-6 guard, Harrison played mostly off the ball in his two seasons at Kentucky, but the Hornets used him as a point guard in Orlando. He showed a knack for getting to the rim off the dribble and has the length to be a solid defender.

Harrison wasn’t a particularly good shooter at Kentucky, making just 41 percent of his shots from the field. He worked extensively with Hornets shooting coach Bruce Kruetzer over the summer to improve his 3-point range.

Harrison’s challenge in making the roster increased during the preseason when small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had shoulder surgery that likely ends his season. In reaction to that injury, the Hornets brought in veteran Wilkins, but he played little before being waived Friday.

Harrison played in six of the exhibitions, averaging 3.5 points and 0.8 assists.

The Hornets would have the option to send Harrison to the NBA Development League for one or more assignments as a rookie. The Hornets plan to start their own D-League franchise, based in a Carolinas city, starting in the fall of 2016.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell

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