When Dwight Howard spurned the Los Angeles Lakers he obviously upset the Lakers’ management and his now former teammates with the move. From a basketball sense, though, the Lakers had a big hole to fill in their frontcourt with Howard leaving. They ended up doing some work in NBA Free Agency themselves and agreeing to a deal with veteran center Chris Kaman.
Kaman spent last season with the Dallas Mavericks and wasn’t exactly a revelation. He missed 16 games over the year due to injury and averaged 10.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 20.7 minutes per game while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor. His numbers were okay, but he also wasn’t impressing many people in Dallas last season either.
Now with the Lakers, he is going to be asked to do a lot in the Lakers system. Obviously they are going to need him to be an effective rebounder and a rim protector, two things that are questionable when it comes to Kaman. However, Kaman should succeed in coach Mike D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll.
With the Mavs last year, Kaman actually put up great numbers as the pick-and-roll screener. In 148 sets where he was the pick-and-roll screener last season, Kaman averaged 1.2 points per possession, the 20th best average in the league, and shot a fantastic 62.6 percent from the floor. Considering how often D’Antoni likes to use those sets in the half-court, Kaman should be an asset to the Lakers in that regard.
Beyond the pick-and-roll, though, it’s hard to get excited about Kaman in L.A. He’s not a great post-up player, has a history of being somewhat inefficient for a big man, and doesn’t exactly do anything at an elite level. If you want to be impressed by Kaman this season, focus on him in the pick-and-roll. If you want to shake your head, watch him do everything else.