"He's a bum," some would say. "I like Frank, but not at nine," said others.
Since then, the perception of Kaminsky has been far more positive. He's a legit 7-footer with NBA range from behind the 3-point line and should mesh well with the Hornets' Al Jefferson when the two share the floor. Kaminsky won't need much development to be successful in the NBA, so any growth is simply a bonus. He certainly has his limitations, but most fans are aware now that the pick probably wasn't a disaster. And that's good.
So when assistant coach Patrick Ewing suggested Kaminsky looked, well, bad in practice a couple of days ago, some of that draft-day apprehension may have returned.
Kaminsky is part of a 14-player mini camp preparing for the Hornets' summer league stint in Orlando next week. With him are P.J. Hairston and Troy Daniels, whom have been with the team for one year already. Kaminsky attributed his struggles in practice to an unfamiliarity with both his teammates and the NBA game, and those are perfectly acceptable reasons to have difficulty adapting to a new setting.
In fact, Kaminsky was specific:
"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.
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."
Despite Kaminsky's age and experience relative to rest of his draft class, he will certainly need time to adjust to an entirely new situation, new people, and new expectations.
While head coach Bo Ryan did introduce some zone defense to Wisconsin's defensive schemes, his teams are known to play nearly exclusively man-to-man defense. There are intricacies to man-to-man defense exclusive to the NBA, but Kaminsky should pick up the concepts fairly quickly. Executing well, however, might take time.
And that's to be expected. Kaminsky is a polished, smart player, but he's still only 22 years old with no NBA experience whatsoever. He should be a good player, but it could be a bumpy ride to get there.