If you are a Charlotte Hornets big man, and you haven’t been injured this preseason, consider yourself fortunate.
The Hornets got Cody Zeller (bone bruise) back for full participation in practice Sunday. Frank Kaminsky, however, is in a walking boot after suffering a right foot strain during Friday’s exhibition loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Hornets are listing Kaminsky as questionable to play in the season opener Wednesday against the Bucks in Milwaukee. If he is out, it will definitely stretch the Hornets’ depth in the frontcourt.
Zeller missed most of the preseason with a deep bone bruise in his right knee. Coach Steve Clifford acknowledged last week that Zeller has missed so much practice time, he won’t play much initially during the regular season.
Also, power forward Marvin Williams suffered a nondisplaced fracture of his left middle finger. He’s able to fully practice and Clifford plans on starting Williams against the Bucks.
The question then becomes depth. If Kaminsky isn’t available to back up Williams, then small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist might shift some over to power forward. At center, Roy Hibbert would start, with Spencer Hawes as his backup and Zeller getting spot minutes.
Kaminsky watched practice Sunday in the walking boot.
“Marvin did everything and Cody did everything,” Clifford said after practice.
The Hornets are still without reserve point guard Brian Roberts, who has been out about a week with a hamstring strain.
“Marvin is fine, so he’ll start,” Clifford said. “In these first two games (against the Bucks and Miami Heat), they downsize a lot anyway, so Mike could play some there. Also, Spencer can play some (at power forward).”
Graham makes the roster
The Hornets made their final cuts of the preseason Saturday. Treveon Graham, a forward from Virginia Commonwealth who went unselected in the 2015 draft, made the 15-man roster.
Graham played last season for the Idaho Stampede, then the Utah Jazz’s Development League affiliate. At 6-foot-5 and 219 pounds, he’s making the transition from college power forward to NBA small forward.
“I like him more and more every day,” Clifford said of Graham.
“He helps keeps you organized; he’s a very good decision-maker. He’s tough and he defends. The more you watch him play, he’s hard not to like.”
Graham said defense was always the priority in college.
“Coming from VCU, that’s just something that we always did,” he said. “Always put defense first, and offense will flow from there.”
The move to small forward means sharpening some skills he didn’t use much in college.
“Ball-handling and being more consistent from the 3-point line. Those have been the biggest things,” Graham said.
He doesn’t figure to play much for the Hornets this season. He’s receptive to spending time with the team’s new Development League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm.
“Greensboro is only an hour and a half away and they have the same mentality when it comes to coaching and the plays,” Graham said. “So, me being able to go there and get my (repetitions) up, it could be a big thing for me.”