Earlier this week, head coach Mike D’Antoni hinted at a change in the starting lineup, saying that the team would likely go big against the Houston Rockets. Many assumed that Jordan Hill, who had been extremely effective in spot minutes through five game this season, would get the start, but according to Mark Medina, it’s Chris Kaman who will join the starting unit in tonight’s game against the Rockets.
Chris Kaman is going to start tonight
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 7, 2013
This is a great move by D’Antoni. While Hill has been a bright spot for the Lakers this season, he still isn’t a starting caliber player and doesn’t fit as well into D’Antoni’s offensive scheme as Kaman does. Williams had been the starting power forward through five games, but his limited effectiveness has only seen him play just under 14 minutes per game despite being a starter.
With Williams out of the starting lineup, it likely means more minutes for Hill, who has been the team’s best rebounder who provides energy off the bench. Also, it allows both Gasol and Kaman to spend more time on the floor together. They had developed some chemistry in the off-season before Kaman came back from China with a stomach illness that kept him out of the Lakers final two preseason games.
Gasol and Kaman, instead of Gasol and Williams, is also a better matchup against the front line of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik, who are both excellent on the glass and are effective in the paint. The new starting front court allows for D’Antoni to stretch the floor in the offense from both spots and will force at least one of the Rockets bigs away from the rim as both Gasol and Kaman have the ability to hit 15-footers if left open.
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