No one can deny the immense talent that Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman has, but it’s never mattered due to lack of intangibles. Kaman has been one of the most skilled big men in the NBA over the past 10 years, yet has only appeared in the postseason once. Don’t give me the fact that he was on the Los Angeles Clippers most of those years, because that team had a lot of talent that constantly underachieved with Kaman being a big part of it.
The problem with him has always been the lack of focus and committing costly turnovers in crunch time. There were countless times during his days as a Clipper where he would make a thoughtless pass which the opposition intercepted that ended up deciding the game. The camera proceeded to pan over to then Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy trying to ask Kaman what he was thinking or saw. Kaman would usually give a blank stare and mumble something and wistfully jog back onto his spot on the floor.
Kaman once famously told the L.A. Times, “I would come out of a huddle that [Coach] Mike [Dunleavy] just drew [of] two plays and I would literally forget both those plays in a matter of 10 seconds or less.”
Kaman also gets lost on defense, and has generally given little effort at that end of the court. His career can be summed up by making an unbelievable move in the post and scoring, then following that up on the other end by “forgetting” to box out his man. Ultimately, this is why Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni hasn’t played him much this season. The guy keeps making the same mistakes over and over without even knowing what he did wrong.
The history of the NBA has been about centers leading their teams to championships. Kaman has always had the physical attributes to be one of those guys. It’s quite amazing that not one coach or teammate has been able to focus that talent.
You’re telling me a guy that can score at will on the block hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2006? Kaman put up 27 points against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, yet it never seemed like he controlled the game, which is what makes a great player. Isn’t that what a talented 7-footer is supposed to do?
Here’s hoping the 31-year-old will figure it out and be able to help a team out before it’s too late. The Lakers thought he would be able to do that this year, but injuries and lack of continuity have opened up the opportunity to develop younger players such as Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly. I’d imagine if Kobe Bryant were healthy, Kaman would be getting some minutes as a veteran presence on the front line with the ability to run the pick-and-roll with Bryant. Maybe Kaman would have awoken from his year-long snooze with the urging of the “Black Mamba.”
Unless someone can get on him every day and just about every minute of a game, it looks like Kaman will float into retirement at some point having one unmemorable career.