Chris Kaman came into the season thinking that he would get significant playing time as the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting center. Instead, he clashed with coaching and found himself on the bench more often than not. When he played, he did well offensively displaying his unique skill set. But with the extra cap space, the team should look to sign a different impact center this offseason.
Kaman only appeared in 39 games and started in less than half of those games. He averaged double digit points and over five rebounds a game. He shot a high percentage from the field, and was a very good free throw shooter. He deserved more time on the court, but coaching held him back.
On the defensive end, Kaman did what he could, but was unable to cover the mistakes of the perimeter players. He did his best to challenge shots and help out on pick and rolls, but often times was unable to contain opposing players. He was late on rotations and didn’t put in the consistent effort necessary to play solid team defense. This could be attributed to his lack of playing time, but that does not excuse the lack of effort.
Unfortunately, Kaman was never given a fair shake in Los Angeles. He played well with Pau Gasol in the preseason and demonstrated decent chemistry. But he just did not fit with what Mike D’Antoni wanted to do, and didn’t represent the outside shooting that the coach expects from his big men. His minutes were often given to the younger players who would be in the organization longer.
Kaman made it known that he was unhappy, and will likely look elsewhere in the offseason. While he is still a good player, they should not have signed him last year, knowing D’Antoni’s preference for a smaller lineup. The Lakers should utilize their extra money this offseason to try and find a more athletic big man.