Chris Kaman, the “Decent Consolation Prize”

In Mark Medina’s “Inside the Lakers” post yesterday, he refers to Chris Kaman as “a decent consolation prize after losing the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.” Too bad Lakers’ coach Mike D’Antoni does not feel the same way. Disagree with that description of Kaman? Well, consider that Kaman has had a few nagging injuries, at least according to Laker’s press releases, and he has been a season-long resident of the D’Antoni Dawghouse, being allowed to step on the court during a game about half the time, and for a career low 17 minutes per game for those into which he is allowed entry, but, then look at the stats.

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First, take a gander at what the ego-man, D-eee Wight, has done this season. Averaging 34 minutes per game, he has scored 18.8 points per game, pulled down 12.4 rebounds, collected 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, and blocked 1.8 shots per game. Kaman has averaged exactly one-half of Howard’s per-game minutes. playing 17 per game, while scoring 9.4 points, pulling down 5.5 rebounds, collecting 1.1 assists, 0.3 steals, and blocking 1.0 shots per game. Double those numbers to give him the same minutes per game as Howard, and Kaman has virtually the same per game stats: 18.8 points per game, 11 rebounds, 2.2 assists,

0.6 steals, and 2.0 blocks. He is also shooting 76% on free throws compared to the ego man’s 54%.

Kaman is a significantly more versatile offensive player than the one-dimensional Howard, whose shooting range is bordering on 24 inches. While Kaman is not the defensive star the other guy is, he is competent, effective, and hard working on defense. He could have and should have been much more than “a decent consolation prize” if actually given the opportunity this season.

Will things change, will Kaman get more playing time? That seems very unlikely, unless Pau Gasol continues to miss significant time due to injury, or if he is traded. Then, D’Antoni might have no choice but to fall back on the consolation prize, who just might be, without Gasol and with Kobe injured, the best player on the Lakers’ active roster.

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