“I can’t believe he played this good once” – Chris Kaman
(NOTE: This article was first published in August 2014)
Damian Lillard on Chris Kaman’s addition to the Blazers: “Love it.” and he sure should love it as Kaman is adding the much needed depth to Portland’s frontcourt. AND, Portland with depth is scary.
But why get excited over a guy that averaged 10 PPG, 5.6 REB and 0.8 BLK per game in only 39 games (13 starts) last season. Why get excited over a guy who doesn’t have the highest basketball I.Q, who isn’t a good passer, who frequently is making mistakes with the ball, who is having a career 1.3 AST per game to his 2.2 TO per game and a player who is injury prone. I’m about to tell you.
The 7 footer has the proper length to contest shots in the paint, and the proper weight to be effective on the low block. Possessing excellent foot work down low, Kaman has a few go-to post moves, including a good fade away jump shot, a solid array of righty and lefty jump hooks and a solid up and under move and is a capable finisher near the rim, with the ability to finish well with both hands. The Caveman is one of the league’s true characters and a legitimately gifted scorer. He is very solid defensively, moving his feet well to stay in front of the opposition and using his body well to keep opponents from getting easy baskets and his offensive game comparable to Big Al Jefferson’s. All these features had him make a name for himself as starting Center with the Clippers where his 2007-2008 season Gongfu Tea Cup the 2009-2010 season (he was injured for most of the 08′-09′ season) have really been more than productive and truly amazing.
In 2007-2008 he averaged 15.7 PPG, 12.7 REB and 2.8 BLK per game in 56 games (55 starts) while shooting almost 50% from the field and over 75% from the line. He did not play in enough games to qualify for the league’s statistical leaders that year but his rebound and block averages would have both ranked third in the league.
In 2009-2010 led the Clippers (one of the worst teams in the league at that time) in scoring (scoring more than Eric Gordon and Baron Davis). He averaged 18.5 PPG, 9.3 REB and 1.2 BLK per game in 76 games (all starts) while maintaining his good shooting percentages. This output led to him being a NBA Allstar (his only nomination for an Allstar Game until today).
In the 2010-2011 he has been sidelined with injuries most of the time again and didn’t play much. In the 2011-2012 season he was part of the CP3 trade and was traded to the New Orleans Hornets. He then played for the Mavericks and the Lakers where he has shown flashes of his oldself, but could never prove that he was an Allstar player once. His backup role with the Blazers, will make Portland stronger (especially defensively)and he will play a big role on a team that isn’t to trend anywhere but in a positive direction. After all, the starting five—Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez—is staying together, and it’s only going to get stronger as Lillard continues improving.
Some Chris Kaman trivia: Although he did not speak any German at the time, he acquired German citizenship in July 2008 (due to his great-grandparents being German), to play on the Germany national basketball team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.