Coach Mike D’Antoni has gone with a number of different starting frontcourt combinations this season in part because of injuries, but also because all of the Lakers options have struggled with consistency this season.
Recently, Chris Kaman played very well when Pau Gasol went down because of his battle with vertigo. This caused many, including Gasol himself, to call for the two to spend more time on the court together.
D’Antoni went with the duo in the team’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but the result was disappointing, a fact that was not lost on Chris Kaman.
With the Gasol and Kaman pairing failing to produce better numbers, it begged the question of whether or not the two should play together. So we asked our panel of experts, is Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman the Lakers best possible starting frontcourt combination? This is what they had to say:
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Early in the 2013-14 NBA season, head coach Mike D’Antoni rolled the dice on playing Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman alongside one another. While Dwight Howard and Gasol didn’t seem to mesh well last season in D’Antoni’s system, Kaman appeared to work out a bit better.
Unfortunately, the most recent game with the Kaman/Gasol duo didn’t fair well. One of the main reasons for this was Gasol still dealing with vertigo symptoms that limited what he could do on the floor.
Honestly, with both players healthy and in game shape, I believe it is the best combination in the front court. Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly all bring certain dynamics, but the veteran duo of Kaman and Gasol is the best combo in my opinion.
Although Kaman and Gasol may be the best fit in the frontcourt for the Lakers, it may never happen again with Gasol continuing to deal with health issues and potentially being done for the season as a result. And even if Gasol returns next season, Kaman already appears to have one foot out of the door.
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I think it’s certainly an effective front court offensively. Despite not producing much on Tuesday night against Portland, Pau and Kaman definitely like playing alongside each other and have shown flashes of being very effective. Defensively, however, the two are at a disadvantage against smaller, quicker front courts.
I’d prefer to see them play alongside each other in stretches, but also mix and match them with Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly. Hill always brings energy and is a monster on the boards, whereas Kelly adds a shooting touch and some intangibles.
Unfortunately, someone will likely be left out of the rotation, but I do think Pau and Kaman should get more time together on the floor.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015): I don’t believe Chris Kaman and Pau Gasol is the best frontcourt combination. While they’ve proven that they are capable of playing well together in spurts, I don’t think that success would be maintained long-term.
Their success would have been dependent on Gasol spending much of his time out on the perimeter, consistently hitting outside jumpers, which isn’t exactly where you always want your 7-footer.
In actuality, the Lakers best combination in the frontcourt may be Gasol and Ryan Kelly. The rookie forward has shown the ability shoot well enough from behind the arc and his game better compliments Gasol’s.
The problem with that duo is that the defensive end would suffer. But, we’re not looking for the perfect combination, just the best one. Given the limited options available, that tips the scale in favor of Gasol and Kelly.
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