The only players people really care about in summer league are the rookies. Everyone wants to get a gauge on what the first round or second round draft pick can do. The Hornets only had one draft pick this year, and that was Frank Kaminsky.
For his first time playing at the next level, Kaminsky was pretty solid, but inconsistency plagued him throughout. At some moments, Kaminsky would touch the ball every single possession, and then the next he'd completely disappear from the game all together. Kaminsky said this had to do with him letting the game come to him, and trying to take smart shots.
"I've always kinda let the game come to me. There's times where I take it to other people, but I don't try to force anything, or try to take bad shots or anything. I really just try to play within the offense."
This is definitely a smart approach to take as he enters the NBA where the talent change is gonna be huge. Confidence is a good thing, but Charlotte can't afford a rookie that already thinks they're a superstar and is going to shoot every time he touches the ball. Although, his lack of assertiveness was slightly concerning, and it would have been nicer had he tried to get himself more touches. Following their third game, summer league coach Patrick Ewing said this was an effect of him not drawing up more plays for the rookie.
"We run plays to try and get the ball moving. This game, while the ball was moving, they didn't look to find him. It's up to me now to start making calls to try and get him the ball."
While it feels weird that Kaminsky's teammates weren't always looking for him, what Ewing said makes sense. It definitely looked like Kaminksy thrived best in situations where the play was designed for him to get the ball. High screens set near the arc allowing him to float out for an open 3-pointers were easily the plays that he found the most success all week, and it allowed him to showcase his full arsenal of offensive skills.
"I've been shooting the ball pretty well. The last couple games I've been able to take the ball off the dribble and draw some fouls. There's a lot of things I can take away from there."
Kaminsky clearly has confidence in his offensive game, but everybody knows his defense is in need of some work, and he acknowledged that following a loss to the Orlando Magic (White) that Charlotte looked awful against.
"There's a lot of things I gotta work on. Just staying with it. Points in that game I let my emotions get to me a little bit with fatigue, and frustration, and everything. Just gotta work through all of that."
It's expected for a college big man to get fatigued during summer league, and Kaminsky is no different. There were a lot of moments late in games, even on offense, where he looked exhausted. It was a major effort for him to put up a jumpshot, and on defense it was easy to take him off the dribble due to him being slow.
Not that Kaminisky is a model of speed when he's full of energy, as he's still fairly slow, but that's more of a case of him being a 7-foot-1 giant than it has to do with being slow in general. He's not the fastest guy out there, but he's definitely quick enough to play decent defense. That said, his defense in summer league was definitely not one of his strong points. He had moments, but it was generally not good.
Which brings up the question, Kaminsky was inconsistent on offense, had a tendency to disappear, and his defense was a low point. To be frank, he had a poor summer league overall. His lack of assertiveness on offense caused his teammates to not give him the ball, and while it's good he played well on designed plays, Kaminsky is going to have to understand that he can't expect the ball to just go to him. He works well in a system, but in the NBA it's okay to break that system every once in awhile.
However, Kaminsky's poor summer league isn't something to panic over. He's still learning how to be an NBA player, and expecting him to break out in his first professional action would be little silly. It also didn't help that he was playing on a team that lacked any actual creators. Aaron Harrison was fine, but a point guard he is not, and the team's overall lack of ball distribution clearly didn't help players like Kaminsky.
For those that still are concerned, there were moments in summer league that Kaminsky was far and away the best player on the floor. When he had his shot going the entire game underwent a change. The floor became spaced, his screens, which were good all week, became a deadly pick and roll combo. Those were the moments that everybody should be looking for at summer league. Negatives should be acknowledged, but positives should be what's taken away. After all, it's only Orlando Summer League.