2014 Player Capsule: Chris Kaman
BY THE NUMBERS:
18.9 – Minutes per game for Kaman in his 39 appearances, a career low in his 11 seasons. He was at times the fourth choice at center behind Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre, with Mike D’Antoni preferring a stretch power forward.
28 – Points for Kaman on March 30 vs. Phoenix – one short of his career high –plus 17 rebounds and six assists, all season highs.
67.5 – Percentage of field goals made for Kaman in the restricted area, 79 of his 176 makes on the season coming around the hoop.
It was ultimately a disappointing 2013-14 for Chris Kaman, who came to L.A. hoping to play in a system with two big men, but often wound up the odd man out with the Lakers going small. In Mike D’Antoni’s system, the statistics showed very clearly that L.A. was indeed better when using a stretch four. In fact, eight of the Lakers’ top 10 line-ups on the season featured either Ryan Kelly, Shawne Williams or Wesley Johnson at the four alongside a single big man. That was most often Pau Gasol, though Kaman did have success when given playing time in such scenarios. When Gasol was out for much of March, Kaman averaged 14.0 points and 7.8 boards on 58.1 percent field goals in 20.5 minutes per game, before his season ended on April 1 against Portland due to a calf strain. On the season, Kaman appeared in 39 games with 13 starts, averaging 10.4 points, 5.9 boards and 1.0 blocks on 50.9 percent field goals in 18.9 minutes per game. A frequent jump shooter, Kaman hit 47.4 percent of his shots from 15-19 feet, but only 41.9 percent from 10-14 feet, failing to put much pressure on the defense. He preferred to pick and pop, as opposed to the pick-and-roll style fancied by D’Antoni. The Central Michigan product struggled to make any true impact on the defensive end, a lack of foot speed limiting his effectiveness with weak-side help.
IN HIS WORDS:
“I came here thinking it’d be two bigs – me and Pau (Gasol). No one really said that, but I anticipated that. I just don’t think it worked out how coach had anticipated either. My frustrations through the year of not having that set up and me coming off the bench and having little spurts (of playing time), it just was tough.”