The Charlotte Hornets drafted 7-footer Frank Kaminsky out of Wisconsin with the ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft, reportedly turning down a package of six draft choices from the Boston Celtics (who wanted to take Duke’s Justise Winslow) to do so. I asked Kaminsky – the consensus collegiate national player of the year in 2015 – five questions:
Q. Your first NBA practice was Wednesday. Patrick Ewing, who will be your summer league coach for the Hornets, said you looked like “a deer in the headlights.” What happened?
A. Yeah, it was a lot to take in on the first day. It was my first NBA practice, and I was trying to do so much so fast. I feel like since then I’ve calmed myself a little and let the game come to me instead of trying to make everything happen on my own.
Q. What can you do right away to help this team?
A. I think my perimeter shooting will go a long way. I need to get better at learning all the things they want me to do, though. They don’t need to structure a game plan around me. I’m going to fit into the one they already have.
It’s not like I’m starting as a freshman all over again, though. I’m much older now than I was starting school at Wisconsin and much more mature. I know what I can do. In college at the beginning, I wasn’t quite sure what I could do. Now I know how to play within an offense.
Q. Who do you consider your biggest inspiration?
A. My dad. He grew up teaching me the game. He came close to the NBA. He played in the ABA for awhile and played overseas for a long time. So he’s really helped push me to new levels.
Q. You are hosting a dinner party and can invite three people, living or dead, to come with the assurance that they will all be there. Who do you invite?
A. The first would be Steve Jobs. I’ve always been fascinated with Steve Jobs. I’ve watched all these documentaries on how he went from starting a company to getting kicked off to starting another company to getting begged to come back to the other one. I want to know his process on things.
Next, Abraham Lincoln. I love history and he’s obviously an interesting person. And the third one? Normally I would say Michael Jordan, but now I can just call him on the phone.
Q. How have you taken advantage of being able to talk with Jordan and were you nervous the first time you spoke to him?
A. Yes, I’ve talked to him a couple of times. It’s crazy. Just awesome, too, at the same time, that someone who you idolized growing up now has faith in you. I was a little nervous the first time I spoke to him – I just didn’t want to say anything wrong. It’s great knowing that he wants me here.