Chris Kaman Needs To Stay Healthy If The Dallas Mavericks Want To Compete
The Dallas Mavericks had a very busy offseason. Some would say it was disappointing due to them failing to land guys like Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, but those guys were long shots to go to Dallas for the most part. The Mavericks did great in the draft and in free agency to not only build for the future, but compete now. One of the most important acquisitions was bringing in a legitimate center in Chris Kaman.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks were unstoppable just two seasons ago when they won their first ever NBA Championship. Outside of Nowitzki, the most important player on that team was arguably Tyson Chandler. He was the first legitimate center Nowitzki had ever played with and it showed drastically. Dirk no longer had to face the biggest, baddest post players in the game. That job went to Chandler. Dirk no longer had to be the leading rebounder either. With the addition of Chandler, Nowitzki could focus on leading his team to their first ever ring and not having to do everything to get it.
Ever since Chandler left to join the New York Knicks, the Mavericks lost most of their toughness. Outside of Nowitzki the Mavericks struggled down low on both sides of the floor. Dirk had a down year for multiple reasons, One being that he had to go back to being mister everything for Dallas in the painted area and scoring the ball.
This is why Mark Cuban and the Mavericks grabbed Chris Kaman off the free agent market and gave him the keys to the painted area in Dallas. Kaman isn’t a flashy player, nor is he particularly great at anything, but he is good at what he does. Kaman is good at everything down low, not great, but good. Most big men these days are one-dimensional. They can either score or play defense, but can’t do both. Kaman can do it all. From blocking shots, rebounding and posting up. His career averages are 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks in 29 minutes a game. As the starting center for the Mavericks I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kaman average 12 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. He was brought in for defense and rebounding, not to score, but I can see him putting up anywhere from 10-13 points a game. Kaman has the skills to be a double-double guy every night. He just doesn’t have the flash that catches the eye of fans.
The only problem Kaman has is his health. Out of the 9 seasons he’s been in the NBA, he’s played less than 60 games four times. Last year he only played in 47 of the possible 66 games in the lockout shortened season, but that was mostly due to the fact that the New Orleans Hornets shut him down in an attempt to trade him. Most of his injuries have to do with his left foot. He has sprained his ankle, foot and arch on his left foot so far in his career. Other than his left foot problems he hasn’t had any serious issues with his body. If he can keep his left foot healthy he will be huge for the Mavericks in the regular season and playoffs.
If the Mavericks want to make a legitimate impact in the Western Conference they will need Kaman to play big and stay healthy. He will have to go up against guys like Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan and Al Jefferson just to name a few. Chris has the talent to play with these guys but I can’t stress enough about how much staying healthy will mean to him and the Mavericks. An injury to him could quite possibly ruin their season.