Lebron James. Darko Milicic. Carmelo Anthony. Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade. Chris Kaman. Kaman was the 6th pick of the legendary 2003 draft. He’s one of 8 players in that draft to make an All Star game. In many ways though Kaman has been an afterthought throughout his career.
He entered the league as a 5th starter on the Elton Brand – Corey Maggette Clippers teams that eventually reached the 2nd round of the playoffs during the 2005-06 season. Brand’s career altering achilles tear provided the opportunity for Kaman to break through individually in the 2007-08 season with averages of 15.7 ppg, 12.7 rebs, and 2.8 blks. Kaman became the go to player for a franchise that scrapped its plans and bottomed out over the next few seasons. The increased shot attempts led to a controversial All Star selection in 2009-10.
Kaman in essence was the bridge to the Blake Griffin era.
While not a game changer, Chris Kaman possesses a complete offensive game and is a consistent scorer that can be counted on. When on his game, Kaman needs to be double teamed. His post game is an array of drop steps, spins, and counters. He is most effective on the right block, where his turn around baseline jumper over the left shoulder and his left handed jump hook are his go to moves. He is also a very effective mid range shooter from 10 to 16 feet.
Where he’s run into trouble in the past has been in moving the ball out of double teams. His career assist rate is low for a such a solid low post scorer. Chris Kaman is a finisher.
For most of his career he has been one of the better centers in the league, albeit always on mediocre teams. With the Lakers he gets to do what he does best, score. When he was signed, it was expected that he would come off the bench behind Pau Gasol, but they have shown a promising chemistry together that makes it likely he will start alongside him.
Kaman will also prove useful as a starter that can be an anchor for the second unit at the top of the 2nd and 4th quarters. He bolstered the Dallas Mavericks‘ offense as a starter for the first half of the season while Dirk Nowitzki was recovering from injury.
Ten years into his career at age 31, Kaman is transitioning into the cliche of the veteran who has had individual success but takes a lesser role to be apart of something bigger. He’s exhibited an increasing willingness to make the extra pass and do the intangible things this team needs. If the Lakers are to soar past low expectations this season it will be in large part because of the production of its role players.