This offseason the Los Angeles Lakers made a string of free agent signings that included Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson, Elias Harris, and Marcus Landry, but one of their newest additions may make a huge impact on this year’s team and that is Chris Kaman.
The 10-year veteran signed with the Lakers in mid-July on a one-year contract at the mini-mid level worth $3.2 million, which is a bargain for a player with the talent and skill that he possesses. Last season for the Dallas Mavericks, Kaman was relegated to being more of bench player despite his 52 starts out of the 66 games he played in.
In his limited 20.7 minutes per game, Kaman averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds, which would equate to per 36 minutes average of 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds. What this essentially means is that Kaman produced when he was on the floor. He is a player who has a solid offensive game where he can go to work in the low post by using an array of different moves such as hooks shots with either hand, has a decent up and under move, finishes well around the basket with both hands and can also be effective in the mid-range game from 10 to 15 feet away from the hoop.
What also makes Kaman a good addition to the Lakers is that at his size (7 feet, 265 pounds) he runs the floor very well. He has the ability to run offensive fast breaks and get back on defense when the opponent is running a fast break. What may be one of Kaman’s biggest contributions to this team is his ability to run the pick and roll, which he was recently touted for being better at than former Lakers center Dwight Howard by teammate Steve Blake in an interview with Mike Trudell, who is the TWCSportsNet Lakers sideline reporter.
“Chris Kaman is great in the pick and roll. He can shoot the mid range shot; he understands the game and where to be […] He has a willingness to be ok with running into the pick and roll every single time. He can roll; he can pop, it gives us a little bit more of a dynamic option than just Dwight rolling to the rim every single time.”
This may be a huge asset when Kaman is on the floor with Blake and more importantly with Steve Nash who uses the pick and roll as a major part of his game. His ability to be an effective finisher around the basket with both hands along with his decent mid-range game, Kaman should find headway with this Lakers’ team should he either be placed in a bench role or as a starter.
As for his role on the Lakers, it is expected that he will likely come off the bench due to the fact that Pau Gasol will be sliding over to the center position leaving the starting power forward position to Jordan Hill. As a bench player, Kaman will looked at as one of the primary contributors and leaders of the second unit where he can be a go-to option on the offensive end and be a capable defender on the other end.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni may play with the lineup from time to time by featuring Gasol and Kaman together on the floor with Gasol playing the power forward position and Kaman at the center position and possibly vise-versa, as both players have solid low post games and shoot well from mid-range. What Kaman provides the Lakers is another big who has a well-define offensive game and should fit in nicely into D’Antoni’s offense.
The signing of Kaman has potential to be one of the most underrated moves by the Lakers this offseason, as he brings a lot to the table to his new team and for the price they paid for him it will look like a bargain. In whatever role the team put Kaman in, he will certainly be a player that plays hard night in and night out and produces, which is exactly what the Lakers need.
As Kaman stated in his introductory press conference in July, he is here with whatever it takes to help the Lakers get banner No. 17.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Kaman said of a potential substitute role. “I’m here to do a job and, whatever it is, I’ll do it.”
Photo Credit: Jim Mone / Associated Press