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Frank Kaminsky needs to loosen up and let it fly in the 2016 NBA Playoffs

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Frank Kaminsky has been relatively average during the 2015-16 regular season, and the Charlotte Hornets are going to need more from the rookie in the playoffs.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Kaminsky has been fairly, uh, average in his rookie campaign. He averages 7.5 points per game and 4.2 rebounds. While his numbers don't jump off of the page, he has been a fundamental piece to the Charlotte Hornets' deep bench this season.

Season performance

Frank Kaminsky was drafted with the ninth overall pick in last year's NBA Draft. Amongst rookies, his stats seem to be right in line with his draft order. Compared to qualified rookies, he is tenth in points per game (7.5), tenth in rebounds per game (4.2), ninth in 3-point percentage (.338), tenth in blocks per game (.54), and twelfth in minutes per game (21.1).

Part of Frank Kaminsky's appeal to the Hornets is his age (23) and apparent NBA readiness. He was drafted on the expectation that he could translate his play that won him the Naismith at Wisconsin to the NBA. However, while he has shown moments of brilliance, he still has a lot to learn.

If you look strictly at the statistics, Frank Kaminsky isn't improving as the season progresses. This is concerning to say the least.

MIN

FG%

3P%

REB

AST

STL

BLK

PTS

Pre All-Star

21.5

40.1

32.6

4.0

1.4

0.4

0.6

7.6

Post All-Star

20.4

43.3

36.1

4.4

0.9

0.6

0.5

7.4

Kaminsky does add extra depth to one of the deeper benches in the NBA. He joins Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson, Spencer Hawes, Marvin Williams, and Tyler Hansbrough in a crowded front court.

What has been Frank the tank's biggest asset to the Hornets this season? It has been his ability to spread the floor. Kaminsky is a seven-foot stretch forward who shoots the 3 just under the league average of 35.4 percent. The threat of his jump shot alone draws a potential shot blocker and rebounder out of the paint and opens up driving lanes. If Kaminsky gets his shot to fall early, the defense has to adjust to a seven-footer on the wing. Not the easiest thing to do.

Here is Frank Kaminsky's first field goal in the NBA. It's no surprise it's a 3-pointer.

Now look just a few minutes later in the game. The Hawks now respect Kaminsky's range and close out hard on him. He makes them pay with a pump-fake.

What to expect in the playoffs

Frank Kaminsky will be in line for a lot of minutes in his rookie season. He will presumably be in the upper echelon in his draft class for playtime in this year's playoffs along with Myles Turner, Stanley Johnson, and Justise Winslow.

So what does Kaminsky need to do to have a successful playoffs? He needs to relax. He is going to have pre-game jitters. He is going to make a dumb pass or take a bad shot at some point. How he comes back from that will be the key.

Frank Kaminsky felt those jitters in his first start back in mid-February in Milwaukee against the Bucks. He shot two for six from the field for four points including missing his only 3-point attempt of the night. He also struggled on defense allowing Jabari Parker to score when he chose.

To add to these jitters, Kaminsky hasn't performed all too well against the three teams the Hornets could face in the first round: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat.

Opponent

GP

MIN

FG%

3P%

REB

AST

STL

BLK

PTS

Season

79

21.1

41.2

33.7

4.1

1.2

0.5

0.5

7.5

Atlanta

4

16.8

36.8

36.4

3.5

1.3

0.8

0.3

4.5

Boston

3

24.3

46.2

40.0

6.7

1.7

0.0

1.0

11.3

Miami

4

16.7

35.7

0

3.0

2.5

0.3

0.0

2.8

Outside of one breakout game against the Celtics, his averages are down against all three teams.

However, producing calms nerves. Frank Kaminsky needs to knock down some jumpers early and often. If he can get into a rhythm in game one of the playoffs, he should be put in a more relaxed state of mind for the remainder of the playoffs. Taking a look at Kaminsky's regular season shot chart, it's pretty obvious he likes the ball on the right wing or the perimeter.

kaminsky shot chart

The Hornets need to get Frank the ball in his sweet spot a couple of times early in the game. Once a shot or two falls, watch out.

Frank Kaminsky needs to be a crucial part of the Hornets bench unit. The Hornets need him in the pick-and-roll with Jeremy Lin. They need him to create space for Al Jefferson to operate on the block. They need him to get the opponent off their feet with a pump-fake and drive to the paint for a floater. He can accomplish all of these if he can get his 3-point jumpers to fall.

The Hornets drafted Frank Kaminsky to help the Hornets today, not just tomorrow. The 2016 NBA Playoffs will surely test the rookie's mental strength. How he handles the spotlight will have a major impact on the quality of Charlotte's bench unit.