2013 Preseason Player Profiles: Chris Kaman

Chris_Kaman_talks_to_reporters_after_being_introduced_as_a_New_Orleans_HornetChris Kaman
Center
11th Year

PPG: 10.5 RPG: 5.6 APG: 0.8 SPG: 0.4 BPG: 0.8
FG%: .507 3P%: .000 FT%: .788 TS%: .529 EFG%: .507
PER: 16.3 USG%: 25.3% ORTG: 98 DRTG: 105
OR%: 8.1% DR%: 22.1% TR%: 15.2%

Last Season Summary:
Last year was Chris Kaman’s first and only season with the Dallas Mavericks and, statistically, it was one of his worst in his career as he posted his lowest scoring output since his second season and his lowest rebounding output since his rookie season. However, there are some positives to take from last season. His field goal percentage was his highest since 2009 and his 66 games played were his most since his All-Star season of 2010.

He had some very good games for the Mavericks, particularly at the outset of the season including an 18 point, 17 rebound performance against the Golden State Warriors, and a 26 point, 11 rebound performance late in the year against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Kaman also maintained solid rebounding numbers, pulling in 22.1 percent of defensive rebounds when he was on the floor. His per 36 numbers of 18.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks were comparable to most centers in the NBA. For instance, Marc Gasol’s per 36 numbers were 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks while Dwight Howard’s were 17.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. Kaman, even in an up and down year, was still effective in a system that wasn’t really suited for his abilities and his games played increased for the third straight year, meaning the lingering injury issues may finally be coming to an end.

Strengths/Weaknesses:
Kaman is a very skilled offensive center. Around the basket he has an assortment of post moves and is adept at scoring with either hand. He has also shown the ability to step out to 12-15 feet and knock down an open midrange jumper, a must in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

Kaman has been a solid rebounder throughout his career. Even though he has only average double-digits once in his career, he has only been under seven rebounds twice proving to be very reliable on the glass. He also has a very high basketball IQ and is an adept passer when necessary.

On the negative side, Kaman’s defense is average at best. He possesses the knowledge to know where to be, but isn’t always able to get there in time. He isn’t much of a rim protector, though his length will allow him to get his share of blocks. He is much more a position oriented defender however.

His injuries are also a concern as he has only played in all 82 games once in his career, his rookie season. While those concerns seem to be fading, he continues to be an injury concern.

Expected Role:
Kaman will be the first big man off the bench for the Lakers this season, sliding in when Jordan Hill or Pau Gasol need a break or get in foul trouble. He is skilled enough to play with either big man and his versatility will go a long way towards keeping his minutes consistent.

The Lakers will expect Kaman to control the boards and patrol the paint on defense as well as be a cog for the offense from the post and high post. Kaman is skilled very much in the way of Pau Gasol so his shooting and passing ability and basketball IQ will make him an ideal option to operate from the high post at times.

This Season’s Expectations:
Kaman will have a very important role for the Lakers this season and his presence will be vital as the Lakers had very little depth in the front court last season after Jordan Hill went down to injury. Just matching his numbers from last season would be a huge improvement over anyone the Lakers played last season.

Kaman is a former all-star, and a very skilled player. Sharing the court with guys like Gasol, Steve Nash, and Kobe Bryant could make for some beautiful basketball moments if they are moving the ball correctly as I expect them to. It’s doubtful Kaman will be able to have much of an impact defensively, especially with the lack of true centers in today’s NBA. Kaman simply doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with the younger athletic bigs.

With both Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol coming off of injury filled seasons and rehabbing for much of the offseason, Kaman’s play will be of vital importance to the Lakers. Kaman must be adaptable to any situation whether it be playing with another traditional big like Gasol or Hill or as the only big in a small ball lineup.

The most likely scenario would probably be Kaman playing around 70 games and putting up numbers similar to what he did last season proving to be an important part of a Lakers bench that was non-existent last season, but could be much improved this year.

If Kaman is able to keep his health intact, it shouldn’t be a problem for him to be a vital part of the Lakers this season.

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